February 2023 – The Czech Competition Authority has concluded its sector inquiry into the distribution of pharmaceuticals in the Czech Republic, with a focus on the impact of direct distribution systems on competition.
The inquiry found that the direct-to-pharmacy/direct-to-hospital (DTP/DTH) systems in the country only cover a limited range of medicinal products, accounting for roughly 9% in quantity and 27-30% in financial terms. The Authority determined that the priority of ensuring the availability of medicines for patients outweighs any potential negative effects these systems might have on competition. The primary purpose of these systems should be to ensure the supply of medicinal products to patients.
The sector inquiry found that the use of DTP/DTH systems is justifiable, as it allows for more efficient control of the distribution of medicines and results in a lower rate of re-exports. If these direct distribution systems were banned, this could reduce the interest of pharmaceutical companies in supplying certain medicinal products to the domestic market, leading to decreased availability of medicines for patients in the Czech Republic.
Although the Authority concluded that there is no evidence to initiate antitrust proceedings, it will continue to monitor the pharmaceutical sector and its distribution on an ongoing basis to detect any potential competition distortions.
The Authority also made several recommendations for pharmaceutical companies, including conducting more frequent tenders for DTP/DTH systems in the Czech Republic, or putting a product into direct distribution only if it is justified and the product's availability to patients is guaranteed.
A full report on the sector inquiry will be released soon. In the meantime, you can find more information on the sector inquiry on the following link.