The AstraZeneca Decision in the General Court: Some Basic Observations and a Few Interesting Questions

Kent Bernard, Sep 30, 2010

By its decision of July 1, 2010 in AstraZeneca the General Court upheld the decision of the European Commission that AstraZeneca had abused a dominant position in breach of Article 82 (now 102).

The abuse consisted of two courses of conduct. First, AstraZeneca was found to have blocked or delayed market access for generic versions of AstraZeneca’s Proton Pump Inhibitor, Losec, by making misrepresentations to certain EEA national patent offices in order to obtain supplementary protection certificates for Losec. Second, AstraZeneca was found to have prevented parallel imports of Losec by deregistering market authorizations in a number of countries.

By its decision, the Court reaffirmed two basic principles of EU jurisprudence, put a silver spike through one common argument of the research-based drug industry, and raised some fascinating questions for the future.