On 16 September 2008, the European Court of Justice gave a ruling (in joined cases C-468/06 – C-478/06) on questions referred by a Greek court, concerning whether the failure of a company to meet the orders of a wholesaler may amount to an abuse of a dominant position. The background to the case is that in November 2000 GlaxoSmithKline AEVE (GSK), the Greek subsidiary of the UK pharmaceutical group, stopped supplying orders from Greek wholesalers who bought medicines intended for distribution in Greece and exporting them to other countries. The wholesalers brought an action claiming that GSK’s sale policy was an abuse of its dominant position in that GSK was seeking to limit parallel exports. The ECJ held that parallel sales of medicinal products from a Member State with relatively low prices are of more than minimal benefit to consumers. It went on to consider whether the existence of State regulation of medicine prices could justify a restriction. It concluded that price regulation did not preclude the competition rules from complying. However, the Court acknowledged that those rules should not be interpreted in a manner that left a company unable to take reasonable and proportional steps to protect its legitimate commercial interests. It is therefore entitled to ascertain whether the orders of the wholesalers are out of the ordinary and would lead to a shortage of medicine in the local market. The ECJ therefore left it to the national court to determine whether in practice the orders placed by the wholesalers were ordinary in light of the previous business relationship between the parties. It concluded that if a dominant company refuses to meet ordinary orders in order to prevent parallel exports then this would be an abuse in breach of Article 82 EC Treaty.