Pharmaceutical Grey Market In The European Union

Pharmaceutical Grey Market

Grey market refers to the illegal trade of goods through various distribution means that are not approved by the manufacturing unit or the IP holders. These unauthorized distribution channels offer regulated prescription, and the medications in fact reach the consumer through these unsanctioned channels of distribution.

Grey Market in EU

The Illegal trade of medicines from different countries is mainly done to earn more. Although it’s unauthorized in the EU and many other countries, people illegitimately import medication from other countries at a much lower price and sell it at a higher rate in their countries.

This exploitation of price differences among countries is forbidden. However, this practice predominates, and most of the countries are involved. It jeopardizes the health of the consumers and compromises the economic benefit of the state or the union.

Parallel Import of Medicines

Counterfeited drug products are a growing threat to the grey market in the EU. The fake drugs are mostly manufactured outside of the EU and sold online. It has been promoted due to the rise in unregulated online markets that are not approved by the local medical authorities.


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In this case, the purchase takes place outside the legal supply chain and is not prescribed by any doctor or medical advisor. Other essential medicines can sometimes be diverted to the grey market when there is an aperture in the availability in the recognized market.

Health apprehensions become a part of the grey market when the counterfeiters find a loop in the FMDs regulatory guidelines and compliance report. Then, they can easily cause problems even in the legitimate market.

Grey market is easier to sell these counterfeited products because they don’t follow the regular directives set by the authorized units, and since the products are sold by some trusted, highly regulated market, diverted from the legitimate market. The uncertain evidence chain becomes another reason for the resale of products. 

Causes of Pharmaceutical Grey Market in EU

Parallel import, even though illegal, is a thriving profitable market, more so because of the free flow of trade amongst the countries in the EU. While the medicines are traded, the price is not specified by the union, and hence the states have a free reign to impose taxes or decide the prices on the countrymen.

This is the principal reason for the emergence of the pharmaceutical grey market in the region. The unspecified price makes it a lucrative business in the grey market. Diverting the supply from the legitimate market allows people to sell cheap medicines at a higher rate.

The availability of the drug, national laws, and fluctuating rate become other factors that influence the unfolding of the grey market—usually benefiting the health insurance services, governments, and pharmacies while also causing a great loss for the drug companies.


The Necessity of Brand Protection 

In this situation where counterfeited products and expensive grey markets have created havoc in the world, drug companies suffer a significant loss in terms of revenue and reputation. Hence, protecting the brand name of your company becomes essential. Online brand protection services offer effective prevention of online selling of fake products by unauthorized sellers. This anti-counterfeit service is one way of ensuring IP protection for pharmaceutical companies.