On the 1st June 2010, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) delivered its ruling in the case regarding the demographic and geographical rules limiting the establishment of pharmacies (Joined Cases C-570/07 and C-571/07).
The ECJ decided that such rules are justified in the interests of public health, and are therefore compatible with European Union law. Specifically, they contribute to an even distribution of pharmacies across the territory, and therefore to ensure a reliable and high quality pharmaceutical services for citizens.
The case is arose from a challenge to pharmacy establishment rules in Asturias, Spain, and was referred to the European Court for a ruling. The European Commission has called for such rules to be removed across Europe. An infringement proceeding launched by the Commission against Spain in respect of the same rules is still underway.
The Court qualified its ruling by suggesting that there may have to be some flexibility in the rules in areas with special geographical characteristics, but without questioning the validity of the rules themselves. Such flexibility is already foreseen by the Spanish legislation
To read the PGEU Press release, please click here