Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Parallel Trade in Prescription Medicines in the European Union: The Age of Reason?

Forrester, Ian S. and Dawes, Anthony (2008): Parallel Trade in Prescription Medicines in the European Union: The Age of Reason? Published in: Yearbook of Antitrust and Regulatory Studies , Vol. Volume, No. 1 (2008): pp. 9-31.

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Abstract

In light of the economic reality, which is increasingly confirmed by relevant judicial authorities, we submit that hindering parallel trade in prescription medicines does not damage patients and national health budgets. It is therefore to be welcomed that both Community and national case law has confirmed that pharmaceutical companies are entitled to adopt measures responding to – but not prohibiting or eliminating – parallel trade, and such measures are not contrary to the EC competition rules. Parallel traders had previously been free-riding on case law which referred to sectors and cases that bore no relation to the special features of the European prescription medicines sector. To the extent there is an assumption that parallel trade in Europe safeguards intra-brand competition, the recent case law does not call this assumption into question: on the contrary, it confirms it, while noting that this assumption is inapplicable to the prescription medicines sector in Europe precisely because of that sector’s very specific features. It is therefore to be hoped that the long-running obsession of European competition law with parallel trade in prescription medicines may (at last) be coming to an end.

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