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Court ruling strengthens EU governments’ power to demand prior authorisation for cross-border health care

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 11 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5657
  1. Rory Watson
  1. 1Brussels

National health authorities are entitled to insist that patients wishing to be reimbursed for specialised medical treatment outside a hospital setting in another European Union country must first receive prior authorisation, says the European Court of Justice in a new ruling.

The judgment is a setback for the European Commission, which had taken France to court, arguing that the authorisation requirement violated European law and one of the EU’s basic principles: the freedom to provide services. The French government, supported by the United …

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