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The Distinction Between Medicinal Products and Foodstuffs in Light of Recent German Case Law

Gunnar Sachs, Magdalena Thole

The definition of a ‘medicinal product’ is of critical importance for making a distinction between medicinal products and foods and therefore also in terms of the marketability of specific products. Other factors to consider include product characteristics such as potential health risks arising from the use of a product. Contrary to recent German case law, however, this does not mean that products will only be classified as medicinal products if they are determined to have an inherent health risk. A distinction cannot be made between medicinal products and foods on the basis of the potential risks of a product.

Dr. Gunnar Sachs, Maître en droit (Paris), is a partner in the Healthcare, Life Science & Chemicals Group at Clifford Chance. Magdalena Thole is an associate in the same group. They can be contacted at and The authors would like to thank research assistant Jannik Bel for his support in preparing this article.


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