The Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE), Mexico's Antitrust Agency, has formally announced that fines totaling $903.5M pesos (approximately US$45.2M) have been imposed to several companies and individuals that were found to engage in cartel arrangements (prácticas monopólicas absolutas) involving illegal price fixing, market allocation, artificial supply restrictions and other anti-competitive conducts in the medication distribution market in Mexico.

COFECE found that during a period of at least 10 years, from 2006 through 2016, several companies conspired to artificially limit the supply of certain medications, coordinate price increases and discounts to end-users and other distributors. According to COFECE, these illegal conducts had an estimated impact of $2,359M pesos (approximately US$118M) in the Mexican economy.

The fines imposed by COFECE are the maximum allowed by the Mexican Competition Law considering the specifics of the case (among others, the economic capacity of the involved economic agents).

In addition to the economic fines, for the first time in history COFECE has imposed an administrative penalty barring 10 individuals from acting as board members, managers, directors, officers, agents, representatives or attorneys-in-fact of the involved economic agents. This type of administrative penalty was first introduced as part of the revamped Mexican Competition Law in 2014 and in this particular case, the suspensions imposed by COFECE are effective immediately and range from 6 months to 4 years.

Involved companies and individuals may challenge COFECE’s resolution through judicial means once formally served. As always, COFECE’s penalties are in addition to, and irrespective of, criminal and/or civil liability that the involved parties may be subject to.


International Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright US MX, S.C.

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