Llyods pharmacy challenge new restrictions on medication display

Judge Brian McGovern

Lloyds pharmacy has brought about a legal action challenging new regulations which govern the display of medicines which are non-prescription but may only be sold in pharmacies, the Irish Examiner reports.

Lloyds Pharmacy Ireland Ltd, which owns and operates around 90 retail pharmacies across Ireland, claims that the new regulations which require certain non-prescription medicines to be stored in an area of the pharmacy prohibited to the public, will cost the company around €1m a year.

The company are bringing the action on the basis that the new regulations amount to unlawful prohibition or substantial limitation on the visual display of non-prescription, pharmacy-only medicines – known as P-meds.

These include 620 products such as Disprin, Panadol, ear drops, cold and flu remedies.

The restrictions placed on P- meds cut off an important advertising channel with the consumer and will result in a stagnation of the market for non-prescription medications.

Judge Brian McGovern agreed yesterday to an application by David Barniville, counsel for the company, to fast-track the proceedings in the Commercial Court.

Brian Kennedy, for the minister for health and the State, consented to the case being fast-tracked but said his clients believe the case raised important public health as well as commercial issues.

The company claims that the 2016 regulations breach EU law and exceed the requirements laid out in a 2001 EC Directive relation to human use of medicinal products.

The regulations were put in place to delay new products from other EU states into Ireland and encourage consumers to purchase the products which are already widely used. Thus a claim that the new regulations breach EU free movement of goods.