POSTPONED: Olga Gurgula: “Strategic Patenting by Pharmaceutical Companies: Should Competition Law Intervene?”

Public Lecture

Thursday 31 March 2022, 18:00 (BST), EB206

The event is free to attend, but registration is required.  Please e-mail Prof. Dinusha Mendis at to book your place.


As the COVID-19 pandemic is affects the lives of thousands of people worldwide, the problem of timely access to affordable medicines has intensified significantly. One of the reasons that typically leads to high prices is strategic patenting employed by pharmaceutical companies. While this practice is currently considered lawful, this paper argues that strategic patenting requires a long-overdue intervention by competition authorities to attract their attention to its harmful effects. This is because along with a more immediate negative effect in the form of high drug prices, strategic patenting affects dynamic competition by stifling innovation of both originators and generic companies. The presentation will outline the current approach to strategic patenting and will provide arguments for the intervention of competition law. This, in turn, will open the possibility for competition authorities to investigate this practice and prevent its harmful effect on drug prices and pharmaceutical innovation, for the benefit of consumer welfare.

Dr Olga Gurgula is Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law (Patents) at Brunel University. Olga holds a Visiting Fellow position at the Oxford Martin School, the University of Oxford. She is a member of the Oxford Martin Programme on Affordable Medicines, working on the ‘open innovation in drug development’ project to facilitate the accessibility and affordability of medicines. Olga is regularly commissioned for policy briefs, governmental studies, and consultations, including those funded by the UK FCO/DFID and the World Bank. She has been a qualified Ukrainian attorney since 2004.