Greece / Council of State / 311/2018

Athens Pharmaceutical Association-Ministry of National Defence, v. Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Social Solidarity, Ministry of Health
Policy area
Public Health
Deciding body type
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding body
Council of State
Decision date
  • Greece / Council of State / 311/2018

    Key facts of the case:

    The case concerns a petition lodged before the Greek Council of State by the Athens Pharmaceutical Association for the annulment of the Ministerial Decrees regulating the establishment and operation of military pharmacies. In accordance with their regulatory framework, these pharmacies sell pharmaceutical products in reduced prices to a number of beneficiaries, including members of the armed forces, employees of the Ministry of Defence, and family members of the primary beneficiaries. They are, also, exempt from the regulations in place for private pharmacies, including territorial restrictions, rules for inspections and building regulations. The petitioners complain that the relevant provisions constitute a disproportionate restriction of their economic and professional liberty, are discriminatory, and violate the obligation to ensure the provision of high-quality health care. To support their claims, they invoke a number of relevant constitutional provisions (art. 5, 21, 25, 106), as well as article 35 of the Charter.


    Key legal question raised by the Court:

    The main question addressed in the proceedings was whether the operation of military pharmacies under the aforementioned framework violates the economic and professional liberty of private pharmacists. The Court also examined the claim that the operation of these pharmacies violates the “social” right to health care, especially in light of the fact that non-pharmacists may work there. 

    Outcome of the case:

    The Court rejected the petition on all grounds. Specifically, it found that a) the petitioner’s members’ professional liberty was not violated, since the relevant provisions do not introduce any additional requirements for the excercise of their profession; b) their economic liberty was not disproportionately restricted due to the limited number of persons benefiting from the operation of military pharmacies, and the specific public/social policy purpose military pharmacies serve; c) the exemptions instituted do not constitute favourable treatment and are justified in the military framework of operations; d) public health and the provision of quality healthcare are not compromised, since the military pharmacies are in any case supervised by a military official who is a licenced pharmacist.

  • Paragraphs referring to EU Charter

    it is argued that the provision of Article 6 (7) of the Legislative Decree no. 107/1969, which permits tolerates the operation of a military pharmacy even by a private citizen who is not a licenced pharmacist, is contrary to Article 5 (5) of the Constitution, which enshrines the individual right to health, Article 21 (3) of the Constitution, establishing the social right to health , Article 35 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, enshrining the social right to health, and Articles 168 and 169 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (ex Articles 152 and 153 of the Treaty establishing the European Community) which aim at the Consumers’ Protection, as the pharmacy operation by a person who is not a pharmacist, pose risks to public health. However, Article 1 (4) of the second Ministerial Decree contested in the context of Article 6 (7) of Decree 107/1969, stipulates thatmilitary pharmacy branches are supervised by Military Officials of the Land Forces of the Greek Army who are licenced pharmacists, eliminating the possibility that the military pharmacy branches are operated by persons who are not pharmacists. . The abovementioned plea must therefore be rejected.

  • Paragraphs referring to EU Charter (original language)

    Επειδή προβάλλεται ότι η διάταξη του άρθρου 6 παράγραφος 7 του ν.δ. 107/1969, η οποία ανέχεται την λειτουργία στρατιωτικού φαρμακείου ακόμη και από ιδιώτη που δεν είναι φαρμακοποιός, αντίκειται στο άρθρο 5 παράγραφος 5, που κατοχυρώνει το ατομικό δικαίωμα στην υγεία, το άρθρο 21 παράγραφος 3 του Συντάγματος, που κατοχυρώνει το κοινωνικό δικαίωμα στην υγεία, το άρθρο 35 του Χάρτη Θεμελιωδών Δικαιωμάτων, που κατοχυρώνει το κοινωνικό δικαίωμα στην υγεία και τα άρθρα 168 και 169 της Συνθήκης για την Λειτουργία της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης (πρώην άρθρα 152 και 153 Συνθήκης περί Ιδρύσεως της Ευρωπαϊκής Κοινότητας), που αποβλέπουν στην προστασία των καταναλωτών, καθώς η λειτουργία φαρμακείου από πρόσωπο, που δεν είναι φαρμακοποιός, εγκυμονεί κινδύνους για την δημόσια υγεία. Ωστόσο το άρθρο 1 παράγραφος 4 της δεύτερης προσβαλλόμενης αποφάσεως, στο πλαίσιο του άρθρου 6 παράγραφος 7 του ν.δ. 107/1969, ορίζει ότι στα υποκαταστήματα του στρατιωτικού φαρμακείου προΐστανται Αξιωματικοί (ΥΦ) του Στρατού Ξηράς, κάτοχοι άδειας ασκήσεως επαγγέλματος φαρμακοποιού, χωρίς να καταλείπει την δυνατότητα λειτουργίας των υποκαταστημάτων του στρατιωτικού φαρμακείου από μη φαρμακοποιούς. Επομένως είναι απορριπτέος ο προαναφερθείς λόγος ακυρώσεως.