The Commission’s Paper on the Obligation of Continuous Supply of Medicines and it’s Impact on Parallel Exporting Activities in The EU: A Paradigm Shift?

By Gonçalo Miguel Banha Coelho 

This paper seeks to shed some light on the impact of the European Commission’s Paper obligation of continuous supply of medicines in typically parallel exporting countries. It is argued that the Commission’s initiative on this domain represents a backtracking from its previous liberal approach to arbitrage in parallel export cases, in particular, through the use of competition rules to foster Internal Market goals. Recent initiatives by the Portuguese pharma regulator show that the Commission’s 2018 initiative acted as a lever to reverse medicines shortages domestically by curbing parallel exports. Thus, whilst in the past the Commission’s doctrine was used by wholesale distributors as a defence against any encroachment in their right to carry-out parallel exports, it is now being invoked before national regulators as a lever to ensure the continuous supply of the domestic market.

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