The competition department of the European Commission (EC) has released a preliminary report on the pharmaceutical sector in Europe. The report goes into some detail about the patent life cycle strategies used by companies to prevent entry of generic medicines. In one example, the report points to the filing of up to 1,300 patents EU-wide in relation to a single medicine and uses the term ‘patent clusters’, a phrase usually reserved for software patenting practises.Indeed, from the initial data we have gathered to date on some key ARVs, the practice of creating patent clusters appears to be prevalent.
The information highlighted in this report will certainly add fuel to the fire about some of the egregious patenting techniques of pharmaceutical companies. A copy of the report can be dowloaded here or you can visit the EC Competition DG’s website here for further details.