ECJ topples absolute advertising ban for dentists in Belgium
Contrary to popular belief, there is no longer an absolute ban on advertising for doctors and dentists in Germany. It would also not be compatible with EU law, as the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in Luxembourg on Thursday, May 4, 2017 (file number: C-339/15). He thus rejected an absolute ban on advertising for dentists in Belgium.
A dentist from Brussels advertised his practice with a poster stand, placed advertisements in local newspapers and provided information on the Internet about his practice and the treatments offered there.
All of this eventually called on the prosecutor. Belgian law, without exception, forbids any advertising of oral and dental care services. It also prescribes a “simple” practice sign.
The dentist said the ban violated EU law. The responsible criminal court in Brussels also apparently had doubts and submitted the dispute to the ECJ.
The judge now ruled that the freedom to provide services stands in the way of an absolute ban on advertising. Thereafter, doctors and dentists must at least be allowed to refer to their practice and the treatments available there.
The EU states, on the other hand, can prohibit aggressive and misleading advertising. Because this could damage the protection of health and promote inappropriate or unnecessary treatments. In addition, such advertising would damage the image of the dental profession here. The Belgian courts must now clarify whether the dentist had gone too far with his advertising. mwo / fle