Purchasing or referencing organizations in the pharmaceutical sector and supplier’s billing: a useful reminder of the CEPC
In a Notice No. 17-9 dated May 11, 2017 relating to the issuance of invoices by the suppliers to the grouping structures for the purchase of medicines, the Commercial Practices Review Board proceeded with a useful reminder. There are two possible types of business for a buyers’ group:
- « either it engages in the purchase for the account and on behalf of its partners, members or affiliates and can then act as referrer or commission agent for the purchase,
- it buys in its name and on its behalf medicines for the wholesale distribution to its members pharmaceutical establishments.
When such organization acts as a referrer, it negotiates terms of sale and rates for its members. The contractual relations are of 3 kinds:
- an referring service contract concluded between the SRA and the manufacturer / operator,
- an affiliation contract between the SRA and the pharmacies,
- sales contracts between the manufacturer and each member pharmacies of the organization.
In this context, the manufacturer / operator issues the invoices on behalf of each pharmacy.
When the organization acts as a purchasing agent, it centralizes the orders of the members that it sends on its behalf to the manufacturer. There are then two types of contractual relations:
- a contract between the SRA and the manufacturer,
- a purchase commission agreement between the organization and each of its members.
In this situation, the manufacturer issues the invoices in the name of the organization which pays on behalf of its members. «