European Commission looks into possible restrictive practices by drug companies

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 06 March 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:524
  1. Rory Watson
  1. 1Brussels

The falling number of new drugs coming onto the market has prompted the European Commission to launch its first major investigation into the pharmaceutical sector to determine whether manufacturers are engaging in illegal restrictive practices.

The commission points to the downward trend in the development of new drugs to explain its suspicion that market forces are not operating satisfactorily. Between 1995 and 1999 an average of 40 novel molecular entities were launched each year in the European Union. Over the next five years the number fell to 28.

Announcing the investigation, Neelie …

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