European integration in the pharmaceutical market is characterized by unequal progress. Achieved tradability
and retained national price controls resulted in parallel trade for pharmaceuticals. The paper explains the processes and the
outcomes of a long term negotiation process among member states, EU Commission and the pharmaceutical industry. The
paper derives the constellation of preferences, analyzes the negotiation situation and explains the persisting deadlock, in
which persisting divergence of preferences among the actors involved obstructed any political solution.
As a clear case in point of Tsebelis’ theoretical argument, this disagreement enabled the European Court of Justice to act
as a stand-in policy maker. With its judgments, the court is setting a de-integration solution, which is tolerated by all political
actors, albeit they could not agree on this policy in the negotiations. The solution set is likely to be stable, because
there is no consensus to revoke it.