In May 2015 the Competition Protection Commission announced that it had opened a pharmaceutical sector inquiry. According to the commission's announcement, the subject of the inquiry is the retail trade of pharmaceuticals which are paid (fully or partially) by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

In the reasoning of its announcement, the commission emphasised that it had received information about high horizontal consolidation in the retail pharmaceutical market, in which a group of undertakings were linked by the trademark MARESHKI and had common market behaviour. This raised concerns and resulted in the sector inquiry.

According to the commission, the purposes of the sector inquiry are to:

  • define the market of pharmaceuticals which are paid (fully or partially) by the NHIF;
  • define the services concerned which are provided within the market of pharmaceuticals which are paid (fully or partially) by the NHIF and their price formation towards health service consumers;
  • investigate changes in market structure;
  • appoint major market participants and investigate changes in market behaviour;
  • investigate changes in supply and demand conditions as a result of amendments to:
    • state regulation;
    • the legal framework; and
    • the general economic environment; and
  • clarify reasons for any future competition issues which might be identified. The commission aims to identify competition issues which are:
    • common to the whole pharmaceutical sector;
    • caused by the legal and regulatory framework; and
    • caused by individual anti-competitive behaviour and practices of individual economic operators on the relevant market.

If the commission finds any individual anti-competitive behaviour, it will open antitrust proceedings against the undertakings involved.

For further information on this topic please contact Mariya Papazova at Advokatsko Druzhestvo Andreev Stoyanov & Tsekova in cooperation with Schönherr Rechtsanwälte GmbH by telephone (+359 2 933 1072) or email (m.papazova@schoenherr.bg). The Advokatsko Druzhestvo Andreev Stoyanov & Tsekova website can be accessed at www.schoenherr.eu.

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