The number of patent settlement agreements which raise competition issues have declined over the past year. This is the result of the European Commission’s second monitoring exercise of settlements in the pharmaceutical sector. The types of settlement agreements which tend to give rise to competition concerns are those in which an originator company pays to delay the entry of a generic drug. A delay in market entry of generic drugs can result in consumers paying artificially high prices. During the Commission’s pharmaceutical inquiry, “pay-for-delay” agreements amounted for around 22 per cent of all reported settlements. The latest statistics indicated that in 2010, the percentage of agreements which could attract competition scrutiny had dropped to three per cent. The Commission noted that its vigilance did not prevent firms from settling disputes successfully within the boundaries of EU rules. The monitoring exercise will be repeated in 2012.