EU – The European pharmaceutical industry‘s planned complete ban on the implementation of promotional products for the promotion of prescription drugs in doctor’s practices possibly violates other applicable laws: The European promotional products umbrella association, EPPA, is now having the compatibility of the ban on promotional products in the pharmaceutical sector with the applicable national and EU laws legally examined. The commissioned law firm has concluded that this advertising ban actually does conflict with Art. 101 (1) of TFEU (Treaty On The Functioning Of The European Union). This article prohibits agreements, concerted practices or decisions by industry associations, which have the object or effect of restricting competition to an appreciable extent.
The commissioned law firm has now drafted a letter that has been made available to all member companies of EPPA, so they can forward it on to the national pharmaceutical associations in their respective countries. The initial reactions of the EFPIA member associations in the Netherlands and Belgium indicate that they do not intend to approve the self-limitation planned by the EFPIA, if the measures do actually prove to conflict with EU or local laws.
In a letter to the EU Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, dated June 17th, 2013 the EPPA is furthermore underlining the fact that the implementation of the EFPIA’s intention to prohibit all its member companies from implementing promotional products under five Euros and to punish possible non-compliance violates Art. 101 (1) of the TFEU. In its correspondence, the EPPA requested a response regarding the planned ban on the implementation of promotional products by pharmaceutical companies by June 21st, at the latest. An official statement about a possible response was not available at the time of publication.