Parallel import of a medicine means import of a medicine into Sweden from another country within the European Economic Area (EEA). The so called direct imported medicine must already be approved for sale in Sweden. The imported product must also be approved in the country of export. Medicines which are parallel imported can be original medicines or generic medicines.
A parallel imported medicine always contains the same active ingredient and has a comparable composition as the directly imported medicinal product. The medicine often has the same name as the direct imported medicinal product, but may also have a different name. Differences in the appearance of the parallel imported product compared with the directly imported product may occur but is not common.
Just like the direct imported product the parallel imported product must obtain an authorization by the Medical Products Agency in order to be sold in Sweden. In some cases, it is the European Medicines Agency (EMA) that issues the authorization instead. The medicine is then called parallel distributed instead of parallel imported. A parallel distributed medicine is exactly the same pharmaceutical as the direct imported medicine.
The parallel imported or parallel distributed medicine is re-packaged or re-labeled in Swedish and provided with a Swedish package leaflet by an approved re-packager before it is distributed to the Swedish pharmacies.
The parallel imported medicines are usually cheaper in their countries of origin than in Sweden, which means that the pharmacies can buy them from the importer for a lower price. For the patient, this may result in lower medicine prices, as the manufacturer of the medicine may lower its prices to compete with the importer. In this way, significant cost savings are generated for the society.