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Important judgment on official prices


The European Court of Justice decided that the situation when a Member State sets uniform prices of prescription only medicines is contrary to EU law as it restricts the free movement of goods and competition.

German law establishes uniform retail prices for prescription medicines sold outside of traditional pharmacies, e.g. delivered by mail. The existing regulations prohibit such retailers to give any discounts. Manufacturers set drug prices which are then increased by adding wholesale and pharmacy surcharges.

In the judgment of the ECJ uniform prices of prescription only medicines established in Germany are contrary to EU law and constitute an unjustified restriction on the free movement of goods, hitting foreign pharmacies which are not able to compete with local pharmacies (according to the applicable laws, they cannot open any stationary branches in Germany, so the only way to enter the German market for them is to ship their medicines).