CJEU rules on cross-border advertisement by online pharmacy
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a ruling on cross-border advertisement on online pharmacy services. The CJEU ruled that ‘a member state of destination of an online sales service relating to medical products not subject to medical prescription may not prohibit pharmacies that are established in another Member State and sell such products from using paid referencing on search engines and price comparison websites’. The case concerns a dispute between a company incorporated under Netherlands law, which operates a dispensing pharmacy established in the Netherlands and a website specifically targeting French customers, and ‘Daniel B and others’, which are operators of dispensing pharmacies and associations representing the interests of pharmacists in France.
The CJEU noted in the judgement that an online sales service relating to medical products may constitute an information society service, within the meaning of the e-commerce directive. As a general rule, according to the directive, the member state of destination of an online sales service relating to medical products may not restrict the free movement of the information society service from another member state, except where such a restriction is justified by certain public interest objectives.