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Competition and Markets Authority has joined forces with counterpart organisations in the US, Canada, and Europe to consider its approach to investigating pharmaceutical mergers.

The market regulator will join a working group comprising the US Federal Trade Commission, Canadian Competition Bureau, European Commission, US Department of Justice, and Offices of State Attorneys General in the USA.

“The goal will be to identify concrete steps to review and update the analysis of pharmaceutical mergers, tapping into expertise from competition authorities with whom the CMA cooperates frequently, as well as others with relevant experience, to ensure the most effective enforcement in these crucial markets,” the CMA said.

The work aims to ensure that CMA investigations include fresh approaches that fully analyse and address the varied competitive concerns that these mergers and acquisitions raise.

CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli said: “Big pharma plays an essential role in our society, a fact brought home to each of us with the rapid rollout of vaccines to fight a global pandemic. But when large pharmaceutical companies decide to merge or to acquire innovative rivals, it is essential that competition authorities work together to protect consumers from any anti-competitive deals.

“That’s why we are very pleased to work with international partners and consider our approach to pharmaceutical merger reviews. It is important that we take the right approach to protect UK consumers.”

The working group will explore issues including current theories of harm and whether they should be expanded, the full impact of pharmaceutical mergers on innovation and the types of remedies needed to address any competition concerns.

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