The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) held a workshop in cooperation with the Arab Company for Drugs Industries and Medical Appliances (ACDIMA), affiliated to the Ministry of Health, to introduce the competition protection law, and review possible ways to avoid falling into monopolistic practices.
The workshop was held at the headquarters of ACDIMA, in the presence of a large number of drugs production, distribution, and exportation companies’ representatives.
They discussed the most common monopolistic violations in the pharmaceutical sector, such as the abuse of patent rights, and preventing potential competition from patents. The local and international experiences in this regard have been also tackled.
The ECA’s chairperson Amir Nabil said that the main objective of the protection of competition law is to protect economic freedom. This can be possible through ensuring a competitive market structure, as the main means of achieving consumer’s interests, raising economic efficiency in markets, promoting investment, and creating competition by protecting pluralism in the market.
During the workshop, Nabil reviewed the most important articles of the law, and other countries’ experiences in ensuring freedom of competition between companies in all sectors.
He also spoke about the importance of supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), stressing that it is necessary to find mechanisms to protect these companies from any monopolistic attempts.
Supporting the SMEs will only bear fruits by protecting them from major companies’ violation that can threaten their presence in the market, he added.
The workshop also witnessed the attendance of Olfat Ghorab, chairperson of ACDIMA, and the legal and economic advisors to the ECA.
The Cairo Economic Court has issued a fine of EGP 5,58bn against four drug distribution companies in a case referred by the ECA in December 2015, after they were found guilty of violating the Protection of Competition Law 3 of 2005.
In December 2015, the ECA referred the four companies to the Finance and Trade Affairs Prosecution, headed by Mohamed Fouda, after they violated Article 6, and sub-articles A and D of the Protection of Competition Law.
The convicted companies agreed to standardise their sales and marketing policies by reducing credit periods and the cash discount granted to the pharmacies by the companies. This has affected the small and medium-sized pharmacies, and reduced their profit margins, as well as curbed their ability to provide several types of medicines to their customers. It has also impacted citizens who were unable to find the medicines they sought, especially in remote areas.