(CN) – Spanish regulations aimed at evenly distributing pharmacies across Europe don’t abide by European Community laws, an adviser to Europe’s top court determined.
Two pharmacists in Asturias, on the northern coast of Spain, filed suit after being denied the ability to open their own pharmacy.
Asturian law restricts pharmacy licenses through a point system based on education and experience. It also considers population density and proximity; there can’t be more than one pharmacy within 250 meters of another.
In a non-binding recommendation to the Court of Justice, Advocate General Miguel Poiares Maduro suggested that although the intention to spread pharmacies across the land is in the public interest, the system unfairly penalizes pharmacists by setting their points back to zero when they apply for a renewed license.
The system prioritizes a license for a new pharmacist over one who has “served his time” in a small town, and authorizes the individual buying and selling of licenses, the adviser said.
Such a system does not fulfill its objective and is therefore illegal, the advocate general concluded.
Maduro urged the European court to review the 250-meter issue.