Search Dental Tribune

New distribution rules are here, horizontal guidelines are on the way


The latest news in dentistry free of charge.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Next year, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition is expected to issue new “horizontal” rules that will address relationships between actual and potential competitors. (Image: artjazz/Shutterstock)

By Faros

Thu. 17. November 2022


We understand that the session that was organised by ADDE on the 26 October this year on the new European competition law regime for distribution agreements was well received. The adoption of Regulation 2022/720—the new European safe harbour for distribution agreements—is indeed a very important development, and it will stay in force until 31 May 2034. However, that is not the only thing that is cooking in the kitchen of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition.

In the course of 2023, new “horizontal” rules are expected. The rules are called horizontal because they deal with relationships between actual and potential competitors. In this respect, it is important to record that the targeted competitive relationships are not only confined to producers but also cover distributors that may act as each other’s actual or potential competitors. Trade associations are also located clearly within the focus of the horizontal rules.

Of interest to dental dealers are the new or at least amended rules that are expected in the following areas:

  • information exchange (both in a trading association context or directly between companies);
  • joint purchasing (including buying alliances);
  • joint production;
  • joint marketing and distribution;
  • standardisation agreements; and
  • sustainability agreements.

Most of the new horizontal rules will take the form of guidelines; however, there are also two regulations (providing an automatic exemption and thus a real safe harbour) that will be issued. They concern joint R & D and production specialisation.

As a Brussels-based law firm specialising in the EU competition law field, Faros will definitely keep a close eye on these developments for ADDE. Once the new terms and rules are definitive and released, we will highlight the most significant developments that are of interest to the dental business. For now, it is important that you know that these developments are under way and will be of direct relevance to your trade association and business activities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *