Limitations of parallel trade with pharmaceuticals in the practice of the European Commission, ECJ and the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition

Author: Eleonora Mateina

2 January 2020, European Law Review, Issue XXV

The purpose of the article is to outline the key aspects of the limitations of parallel trade with pharmaceuticals and to review the most significant decisions of the ECJ dedicated to this topic, i.e. decisions under the joined cases C-2/01 P и C-3/01 (Bayer/Adalat); case C-277/87 (Sandoz); joined cases C 501/06 P, C-513/06 P, C-515/06 P и C 519/06 P (GSK, Spain); joined cases from C 468/06 to C 478/06 (GSK, Greece) and case T 321/05 (AstraZeneca).

The article offers explanation of parallel trade, its logic and the reasons behind the acceptance of its limitation as a hard-core restriction of competition. Second key aspect of the article is the overview of different forms of limitations of parallel trade, e.g. supply quotas, dual pricing, life cycle management, co-payment programs, emergency channels, etc.

The article focuses on review of leading decision from the, which review facilitates the better understanding of the ECJ’ and European Commission’s approach towards the parallel trade with pharmaceuticals.

The article also reviews key decisions of the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition, related to limitations of parallel trade with pharmaceuticals. The practice of the Bulgarian regulator is far from rich but still has its advantages as product market definition, approach towards co-payment programs, etc.

https://evropeiskipravenpregled.eu/25-4/