The ECJ confirms Commission must assess whether an agreement to limit parallel trade in medicines has pro-competitive benefits (GlaxoSmithKline)

On 6 October, the European Court of Justice (‘ECJ’) issued another “score draw” judgment [1] in the long-running battle of R&D-based pharmaceutical companies to limit parallel trade in medicines across the EU. While the ECJ required the European Commission to conduct an in-depth examination of whether EU competition rules can be declared inapplicable to GlaxoSmithKline’s Spanish general sales conditions, it also confirmed that an agreement limiting parallel trade is a restriction of competition “by object”. Provided pharmaceutical companies can put forward cogent evidence of appreciable efficiencies, the need to conduct a full investigation into whether an exemption is available is unlikely

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Anne Wachsmann, Sir Christopher Bellamy, Olivier D'Ormesson, Robert Gavin, Jeffrey Schmidt, Gerwin Van Gerven, The ECJ confirms Commission must assess whether an agreement to limit parallel trade in medicines has pro-competitive benefits (GlaxoSmithKline), 6 October 2009, e-Competitions Bulletin October 2009, Art. N° 41281

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