On 22 October 2019, following a notification by the Hong Kong Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry, the Hong Kong Competition Commission published its first ever decision in relation to an information exchange involving the leading producers of prescription and over-the-counter medicines in Hong Kong.
The Commission decided that the proposed information exchange was not excluded from the First Conduct Rule (that prohibits anti-competitive arrangements) on the grounds of economic efficiency. The Commission noted, however, that the sharing of company total sales data comprised of at least four pharmaceutical products would be unlikely to raise any competition law concerns in this sector.
The Commission’s decision also establishes several principles that apply to exchanges of information between competitors. For example, competition concerns may arise where competitors exchange commercially sensitive information relating to future prices and quantities. But the exchange of data that is historical, aggregated and anonymised or publicly available data is less likely to restrict or distort competition.
David Bailey advised the Hong Kong Competition Commission.