The European Commission has launched a sector inquiry with a series of on-the-spot competition investigations into pharmaceutical companies. The inquiry covers the introduction of innovative and generic medicines for human consumption in Europe. It will examine whether agreements between pharmaceutical companies (such as patent settlement disputes) may infringe EC Treaty rules on restrictive business practices. It will also examine whether companies have created artificial barriers to entry – perhaps through misuse of patent rights/regulatory processes, or vexatious litigation – and if they have infringed abuse of dominance rules. While a sector inquiry is primarily a way for the Commission to understand a particular sector better, it does indicate that the Commission has competition concerns and can provide a platform for future anti-trust cases against individual companies.