Food Law News - EU - 2005

Commission Press Release (IP/05/335), 18 March 2005

SUPPLEMENTS - Free movement of goods: Commission takes Germany to Court over garlic capsules and pharmacies

The European Commission has decided to refer Germany to the European Court of Justice, firstly for consistently treating garlic preparations as medicines and secondly over its requirement that hospitals can only be supplied with medicines by pharmacies in the same city or district.

“These are clear cut cases where national overregulation creates unnecessary burdens for business and hence hampers economic growth in the EU”, Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for Enterprise , Industry and the Free Movement of Goods said.

Germany – Garlic preparations

Germany will be taken to the Court of Justice for consistently treating garlic preparations, such as capsules containing pure dried garlic powder, as medicines, even though they are lawfully marketed as foodstuffs in another Member State . In the Commission's view, the German practice constitutes a disproportionate and unnecessary obstacle to the free movement of goods and is therefore prohibited under Articles 28 and 30 of the EC Treaty. In addition, the German position seems to demonstrate an insufficient understanding of the borderline between food supplements and medicinal products in the sense of current European legislation.

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