On 28 November 2008, the European Commission (Commission) presented the interim results of its pharmaceutical sector inquiry launched in January 2008. The Commission's initial findings are that the market is ineffective. Among the practices the Commission has highlighted are: the use by originating companies of multiple patent applications for the same medicine (patent clusters); initiation of disputes and litigation; and patent settlement agreements. The Commission estimates that between 2000 and 2007, these practices would have cost Member State's health insurance systems around €3bn due to the maintenance of higher prices. Although the Commission has signalled concerns that these practices cause delay to market entry for cheaper generic drugs, this initial report does not make any concrete findings on whether any of the tactics breach EU competition law. The Commission has asked for comments on its findings.
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