European Association of Euro-Pharmaceutical Companies

The routes of parallel trade

The EAEPC was founded in June 1998, as a body to regroup the industry of parallel traders of medicines in the European Union and European Economic Area.

However, parallel trade in medicines existed long before the association. The original pioneers imported products from Italy into Germany and the UK. Soon, medicines were increasingly traded from Greece and Spain into Scandinavia. Yet parallel trade remained a largely South -> North trade.

But it has developed in the last 15 years to become a veritable intra-European activity, with medicines being traded in all directions. Nearly all countries - where there are no barriers to trade - experience incoming parallel trade of some sort. It will depend on the reimbursement system and may be limited to specific types of medicines, but it nevertheless exists.

It is true that the majority of medicines are imported into Germany and the UK. But this should not be a surprise as these are the two markets with the highest prices for domestically sourced medicines. And it is here that parallel trade can deliver the highest volume of savings.