The Commission conducted unannounced inspections at the premises of a number of large pharmaceutical companies on 16 January 2008, launching a new sector inquiry into the pharmaceutical industry. The sector review will examine whether pharmaceutical companies are misusing settlements of patent disputes and other mechanisms in an anti-competitive manner in order to prevent competitors producing generic pharmaceuticals after intellectual property rights expire or by limiting the entry of novel products to the market. This follows the landmark Commission decision in 2005, where Astra Zeneca was fined €60m for misusing the patent system to delay market entry of competing generic drugs. The surprise inspections were designed to ensure that the Commission accessed relevant information at the outset of the inquiry and to ensure that such information would not be withheld, concealed or destroyed. In the past few years, there have been a number of high profile cases in this sector and it is apparent that this has influenced the Commission to take a closer look at the industry. An interim report is planned for autumn 2008 and final results are expected in the spring of 2009.