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Parallel Trade Series 2: PT of Pharmaceuticals in Europe

Parallel Trade Series 2: Parallel Trade of Pharmaceuticals in Europe

In this second article of our Parallel Trade Series, we would like to describe current state of parallel trade of pharmaceuticals in Europe. To this end, we focused on the following aspects of the issue; an organization founded for promoting parallel distribution and representing parallel trade SMEs across Europe, size of parallel trade industry in Europe and pharmaceutical parallel trade’s benefits in terms of direct savings for selected European countries.

Currently representing more than 100 wholesalers in 23 Member States of the European Economic Area (EEA), the European Association of Euro-Pharmaceutical Companies (EAEPC)(1) was founded in 1998 as a Brussels-based not-for-profit company to foster parallel trade in medicinal products within the Single Market. The EAEPC stands as a professional and representative voice for parallel distribution of pharmaceuticals in Europe, which advocates and promotes parallel distribution across Europe. Its reports and studies offer valuable insights into volume and benefits of parallel import industry of drugs within the EU.

A factbook prepared by the EAEPC, for instance, suggests that the market share of parallel-traded pharmaceutical products in overall pharmaceutical market in the EU was about 2-3%.(2) Moreover, as the graph below illustrates, based on pharmacy market sales, Denmark has the biggest parallel import market among selected European countries in 2015. In terms of size, Germany and the UK have the third biggest markets after Sweden’s parallel import market with 12%.(3)

Regarding benefits of parallel trade in pharmaceutical market and  in terms of direct savings generated through parallel imported pharmaceutical products, Denmark as the biggest parallel import market in selected countries generated 52.99 million Euros in 2011.[4] Likewise, the UK parallel trade industry in pharmaceutical products created direct savings of 75 million and 85 million Euros in 2010 and 2011 respectively.[5] As the numbers illustrate, pharmaceutical parallel trade provides direct savings to patients and society as a whole.

To find out different benefits of parallel trade in pharmaceutical industry, please continue reading on our third article in this series; Parallel Trade Series 3: Benefits of Pharmaceutical Parallel Trade.



[1] The European Association of Euro-Pharmaceutical Companies (EAEPC), “About EAEPC,” (accessed July 9, 2018)

[2] The EAEPC, Parallel Distribution: Making modern medicines more affordable for European citizens:11. Available at: (accessed July 9,2018)

[3] Ibid.

[1] The EAEPC, The Parallel Distribution Industry: A closer look at savings, Brussels, January 2013:20. Available at: (accessed July 9, 2018)

[4] Ibid., 23.

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