Dicle Doğan and Fatma Sevde Tan, Gun + Partners
In a letter dated 2 April 2019 to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the EU’s Permanent Mission to the WTO has requested consultations with the government of Turkey in relation to measures that it has introduced to regulate the production, importation and marketing of pharmaceutical products in Turkey.
In its request, the EU claims that the “competitive opportunities” of pharmaceutical products imported to Turkey are significantly impaired as compared with domestically produced products. That comparative disadvantage is said to arise because of measures introduced by Turkey that have been introduced with the aim of “localising” the pharmaceutical industry. In essence, the measures require the production of certain pharmaceutical products to be carried out in Turkey. Where such measures are not complied with, the relevant products will be excluded from the country’s social security reimbursement scheme (see Legal update, Turkey Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Institution publishes announcement on localising manufacture of medicines (Turkey)). The EU claims that, where a product is consequently excluded from that reimbursement scheme, its competitive opportunities are reduced by comparison with domestically produced products.
The WTO will now have 60 days from the date of its it receipt of the request for consultations to settle the dispute. If the consultations fail to produce a satisfactory outcome, the EU may request the establishment of a panel. The EU may also request a panel during that 60-day period if the parties jointly consider that consultations have failed to settle the dispute.