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Parliamentary questions
15 February 2018
Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission

The competent medicines authority in Greece is responsible for implementing the EU legislation on medicines in Greece and must ensure that marketing authorisation holders and wholesale distributors fulfil their legal obligations to continuously supply medicines(1) and consequently protect public health. In 2018, the European Commission will facilitate the sharing of best practices between Member States for the effective implementation of this continuous supply obligation.

Pharmaceutical companies can distribute their medicines in different ways. Selective distribution is not prohibited by the EU competition rules, to the extent that it is necessary, given the characteristics of the product, and aims to achieve legitimate objectives.

Resellers must be chosen on the basis of objective, qualitative, criteria, which are laid down in advance and uniformly for all potential resellers and which criteria are not applied discriminatorily or go beyond what is necessary to attain legitimate objectives(2).

To asses a change from one distribution model to another under EU competition rules all the circumstances of the case must be taken into account e.g. the legal and economic context, the position of the parties, the state of competition in the market including competition from other medicines, the objectives pursued, whether the change creates efficiencies and any changes in costs.

The Commission and national competition authorities monitor pharmaceutical markets, cooperating closely. National courts are also competent to apply EU competition law in the context of disputes brought before them.

(1)Article 81 of Directive 2001/83/EC
(2)E.g., Judgment of the Court of Justice of 13 October 2011 in C-439/09 Pierre-Fabre Dermo-Cosmétique v. Président de l'Autorité de la concurrence, ECLI:EU:C:2011:649, paragraph 41 and Judgment of the Court of Justice of 6 December 2017, in C-230/16 Coty Germany v. Parfümerie Akzente, ECLI:EU:C:2017:941, paragraph 24.

Last updated: 15 February 2018Legal notice