Swiss COMCO initiates first investigation regarding alleged abuse of relative market power

Pharmaceutical wholesalers buy pharmaceutical and medical products from domestic and foreign companies and distribute them in Switzerland. According to a recently published press release, the Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO) has evidence that an international pharmaceutical company hinders a Swiss wholesaler in obtaining various goods offered in Switzerland and abroad at more favourable conditions abroad.

As of 1 January 2022, new rules for companies with “relative market” power, as well as new types of abuse on supply obligations outside of Switzerland entered into force. On 16 August 2022, the COMCO opened a new investigation to examine the behaviour of the pharmaceutical company. As far as can be seen, this is the first investigation regarding the abuse of relative market power.

The COMCO is currently investigating whether the pharmaceutical company has relative market power vis-à-vis the Swiss wholesaler and is abusing its position. Products such as drinking and tube feeds are affected. If the pharmaceutical company can be found to have such relative market power, the obstruction could violate the Swiss Cartel Act. This could result in severe fines.

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