Article originally published in Competition Law Insight on November 25, 2008
May a dominant pharmaceutical company refuse to supply in full the orders it receives from a wholesaler in an EU member state in order to limit parallel trade in its products in the European Union? This was the question addressed by the European Court of Justice in a judgment rendered on 16 September 2008 in the context of a preliminary reference from the Athens Court of Appeals in the closely-watched case of Sot Lélos kai Sia v GlaxoSmithKline (Joined Cases C-468/06 to C-478/06). In a positive development for the pharmaceutical industry, the ECJ ruled that dominant pharmaceutical companies may limit the supply of products available to wholesalers for export outside the local market.
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