Hazel Tau & others v. GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim & others, 2002 (South African Competition Commission, Competition Commission Case No. 2002Sep226)

Case Description

The Hazel Tau case provides an example of how competition law can be used to facilitate access to affordable medicines. In 2002, a group of HIV/AIDS patients initiated a complaint against GlaxoSmithKline (hereinafter “GSK”) and Boehringer Ingelheim (hereinafter “BI”) with the South African Competition Commission (hereinafter “the Competition Commission”), alleging that the two firms had abused their dominant positions by charging excessive prices for their patented antiretroviral medicines (hereinafter “ARVs”). After investigating the complaint, the Competition Commission concluded that GSK and BI had abused their dominance and decided to bring the case to the Competition Tribunal. The case was finally settled by an agreement between GSK and BI on the one hand and the Competition Commission on the other, in terms of which GSK and BI agreed to license their patented ARVs to local generic manufacturers.

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