The pharmaceutical sector is a part of today's economy in which the relationship between patents and competition has been receiving increasing attention. The European Commission's inquiry into this sector adds to the ongoing debate. Its Preliminary Report, published in November 2008, explains and quantifies a number of practices adopted by individual companies operating in the sector. The Report focuses on two strands of interplay between pharmaceutical companies. The first focus is on competition between originator and generic companies and the second relates to competition among originators themselves. The Report's observations on the former provide us with some important insights into the potential ways of raising barriers to the timely entry of cheaper, off-patent products, while scrutiny of the latter adds to our understanding of the current rate of introducing new innovative products into the market. The study is completed by a number of observations on the sector's regulatory framework. The presentation below follows the order of findings described in the Report.