European Commission calls for Portugal and Germany to change law on ownership of pharmacies

European Commission press release announcing request that Germany and Portugal change certain aspects of the legislation on the ownership of pharmacies which it sees as contrary to the freedom of establishment set out in Article 43 of the EC Treaty.

With regard to Portugal, the Commission requests a lifting of the restriction that prohibits ownership of more than four pharmacies. This restriction is set out in Article 15 of Decreto-Lei 307/2007 dated 31 August (PDF in Portuguese) and is explained as striking a balance between the freedom to own pharmacies and the wish to avoid concentrating ownership.

The matter may be referred to the ECJ if Portugal and Germany do not respond satisfactorily within two months.

Comment. A lifting of the restriction on owning more than four pharmacies in Portugal would presumably be accompanied by a change in the current rules defining the awarding by public tender of licences for new pharmacies. Under these rules, set out in Chapter II of Portaria 1429/2007 dated 2 November (PDF in Portuguese), new licenses are awarded to the tenderer who owns the fewest number of pharmacies, with ties being decided by lottery, provided it meets the legal requirements to own a pharmacy. Pedro

For further information or advice please contact Pedro Fernandes.

Filed under Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals.

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