Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court ruled on January 29 to repeal the key provision of the amended law on medicines, passed by the country’s previous legislature in January 2014, specialist judiciary news website Legalworld.bg reported.
The bill was seen as restricting exports because it required drug wholesalers to receive the approval for export from the government’s Medicines Agency. Such a request has to be filed for each individual export shipment and the agency would have up to 30 days to give or withhold its approval.
Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev vetoed the bill, on the grounds that it did not ensure equal treatment for all drug exporters and also because it required export approval even if the drugs were to be shipped to another EU member state, thus breaching EU law because the bloc’s regulations explicitly ban export restrictions within the EU.
Parliament later overturned the presidential veto, but the centre-right party GERB (then in opposition and now the senior partner in Bulgaria’s government) lodged a request with the Constitutional Court, asking it to rule on the legality of the new law.
The court ruled that the amended law breached the principle of rule of law and article 19 of the constitution, which requires the state to “guarantee equal legal conditions for economic activity” – agreeing, in effect, with President Plevneliev’s reasoning for vetoing the bill.
The court’s decision passed with nine vote in favour, while three judges had dissenting opinions, Legalworld.bg reported. The full text of the court’s ruling, which would detail the judges’ reasoning, was not made immediately public, but was expected to be published on the Constitutional Court’s website in the coming days.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)