IGOR ARTEMIEV: TALKING TO TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS SINGLY, WE RISK NOT BEING HEARD
“We should stand together to achieve results”, said Igor Artemiev. Cooperation of competition authorities against bad practices of the Big Pharma were discussed during the Russian Competition Week in Sochi
On 25 September 2018, there was the Round Table “Anticompetitive practices of global players on the pharmaceutical markets (Big Pharma): response from BRICS+ competition authorities”. Representatives of BRICS competition authorities and other states took part in the event.
Head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service Igor Artemiev informed about established BRICS work in the pharmaceutical field: “Our cooperation is already more than simple enforcement; it is joint discussion of transnational deals”.
He emphasized: “The pharmaceutical market is one of the most important for our people and we should reinforce our collaboration there. Talking to transnational companies singly we risk not being heard, but all together we will achieve good results for our nations. It means using “soft force”.
Head of FAS pointed out that the balance between intellectual property and antimonopoly law is the main issue today. He pointed out: “it is necessary to determine where the line is, where nobody can intervene the rights of authors. IP is sacrosanct but using it for bad practices cannot be allowed”.
The Round Table considered the main types of anticompetitive practices of global players in developing jurisdictions, deterring innovations on pharmaceutical markets and exchanged regulatory practices in the pharmaceutical sector.
Head of South African Competition Commission, Tembinkosi Bonakele described the practice of reducing medicine prices and increasing their accessibility for the population. For instance, South African Competition Commission repeatedly defended at Courts the results of the investigations against companies overrating medicine prices. South African Competition Commission also was able to reduce payments to pharmaceutical companies that granted licenses to national companies for manufacturing medicines in South Africa from 40 to 5%.
According to General Director of India Competition Commission, Nitin Gupta, functions for registering medicine prices are given to an independent agency. He clarified that in India cases were exposed when pharmaceutical companies used anticompetitive conduct strategies.
Chairman of the Main State Administration for Market Control, China, said that the agency investigated 7 cases of monopolistically high medicine prices in China. The companies – violators were held administratively liable, the total fines was 20 million CNY.
President of Brazil Administrative Council for Economic Defence [CADE], Alexandre Barreto de Souza also discussed the practices of medicine price regulation.
Head of International Department, Italian Competition Authority, Andrea Minuto Ricco, presented the Agency’s position: intervention by the competition authority is expedient when there are threats for competitive market development. He stated that in 2005-2012 Italian Competition Authority investigated many violations related to intellectual property.
General Director of Austrian Federal Competition Authority, Theodor Tanner emphasized the importance of a constructive dialogue with pharmaceutical companies whose operations should service, first of all, consumers. He informed that Austrian Federal Competition Authority is investigating a case on overrated prices against a pharmaceutical manufacturer of anti-tumor medicine.
The Round Table discussed antimonopoly response for anticompetitive practices on deterring innovations in the sector: forced licensing, providing platform access and other measures.
“I think Russia is on the edge of big changes. The Government is considering draft laws on parallel import and intellectual property”, pointed out Igor Artemiev.
He suggested that representatives of competition authorities from all over the world should form a common platform on medicine prices. Through this platform, using the comparative price methods, one can immediately find unreasonably increased prices.
Regarding coordinating M&A approvals on global markets, Igor Artemiev emphasized that FAS will request fulfillment of technology transfer and reducing medicine prices.
Stats-Secretary, Deputy Head of FAS Andrey Tsarikovskiy also commented the “new time” deals:
“At the present stage of digital revolution the transaction subject are intangible assets, so considering the deals we study global markets of such non-tangible goods. The transactions touch dozens of countries but the list of the players is nearly always the same”.
Andrey Tsarikovskiy reminded representatives of the pharmaceutical business that “today a waiver practice is popular – when an competition authority disclose information to the bodies from other countries”.
Head of South African Competition Commission, Tembinkosi Bonakele agreed: “We see that the market is changing rapidly. We should jointly study economic concentration on our markets. Scientific community should be engaged in it, for instance, BRICS Antimonopoly Centre”.
CADE General Superintendent, Alexandre Cordeiro pointed out that “IP issues always will be a paradox. We should act without preventing further technology development”.
In their turn, representatives of pharmaceutical companies assured that the signal would be taken into account by the Big pharma.
“BRICS is 46-48% of the world sales markets. Uniting, we will definitely achieve success”, stressed Igor Artemiev in conclusion. “Certainly, here should be a balance and a systemic approach, but, first of all, we shall take care of our people”.
Russian Competition Week is a large-scale annual international event organized by the Federal Antimonopoly Service. Representatives of foreign competition authorities, Russian companies and transnational corporations, experts in competition law take part in the event. This year the event took place on September 24 – 27, 2018 in Sochi (Rosa Khutor).