New formats, old problems


Yesterday, the BRICS Competition Centre, in the framework of the HSE traditional April conference, conducted an online a session on antitrust measures and approaches in the pandemic era. The session covered issues such as the transformation of markets in a pandemic: from the shift of the patent monopoly of pharmaceutical companies to the strengthening of the market power of digital giants; challenges for antitrust regulation and response to new threats and many others. The expert panel comprised of the academics and practitioners from different countries and antitrust backgrounds, which has allowed for a wide variety of perspectives and approaches to be voiced and discussed, enriching the debates surrounding the topic of the session. The session was 'attended' by more than 70 people, from different countries.

The conference had a relatively informal setting where the speakers had a chance to exchange the ideas and have discussions instead of presentations, which have allowed to indirectly continue the discourse started at the previous session dedicated to the crisis solutions in times of pandemic.

The moderator of the session - Alexey Ivanov, Director of the HSE-Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development, Director of the BRICS Competition Centre from the beginning has outlined the critical issues of today and has started the discussion with asking the questions of growing significance, such as: how and whether at all, the competition law can contribute to improving the situation during and after pandemic; questions on competence and consequences of the immediate reaction of antitrust authorities and community; and the questions touching upon the possible prevention of such situations in the future.
The speakers of the session have all focused on different aspects of the discussed topic and have managed to share with the audience their unique country-specific experiences related to the dealing with the outbreak of COVID-19. The discussions unsurprisingly mostly revolved around the issues pertaining to BigTech, BigPharma and as previously mentioned the responses to the pandemic.

In the following days, we will be publishing a more in-depth overview of the topics covered by the speakers during this session: - what can the competition commissions do during the pandemic and what are the best approaches to solving the new challenges; should the prices be capped amidst the growing demand and lacking supply; integration and fragmentation in the face of the pandemic; what is today's Carthage and must it be destroyed? All these questions that were raised during the session are going to be presented in the future publications on our website.