European Association of Euro-Pharmaceutical Companies

Direct savings accrue to social health insurance and national health services in every country with incoming parallel trade. This is because national governments and/or their national health providers have introduced various measures to guarantee savings through parallel trade.


In a 2003 study of the market for parallel trade in medicines, entitled "Benefits to Payers and Patients from Parallel Trade", York Health Economics Consortium found that parallel trade generated direct savings to patients and social health insurance systems in excess of €630 million in 2002.

Country2002 Savings (€m)
UK 342m
Sweden 47m
Germany 194m
Netherlands 32m
Denmark 16m (2001)
Total - 5 countries 631m

The study went on to say that "these direct and indirect savings from the parallel trade of pharmaceuticals have played a major role in holding down the spiralling public healthcare bill in many European countries."

Not only does a parallel trader have to better the price of the medicine directly imported by the domestic trademark owner, it will also need to compete on price and availability with other parallel traders operating in the same national market. In Sweden, for example, it has been shown that the price of a particular parallel traded medicine continues to fall the more parallel trade entrants there are.

With AstraZeneca's Spirocort Inhaler (alternatively known in other countries as Pulmicort) for the prevention of asthmatic attacks it was calculated by EAEPC Danish member association (PFL) that direct savings in Denmark in 2001 from the use of parallel traded versions amounted to DKr 30.05 million (approx €4.04 million) or 29.5% of the cost of the brand to social health insurance.