Investigation into pharmacy contractors
June 2, 2008
Outcome of investigation
The Competition Authority (“the Authority”) initiated an investigation after it became suspicious of an anti-competitive concerted practice among pharmacy contractors in a large town in Ireland.
In 2008, the Authority subsequently concluded ‘Agreement and Undertakings’ with the contractors in question and closed the case.
Outline of case
The Authority initiated an investigation after it became suspicious of an anti-competitive concerted practice among pharmacy contractors in a large town in Ireland. The Authority found that the contractors had met and discussed the Health Service Executive (HSE) proposal to reduce remuneration to them; one contractor circulated a sample letter to be sent to the HSE threatening suspension from participation in the Community Drugs Schemes to the others and they all sent a copy of this letter to the HSE.
The Authority took the view that this amounted to a concerted practice contrary to competition law. As a method of resolving complaints efficiently and effectively, with the best use of resources, the Authority concluded the Agreement and Undertakings with the four pharmacy contractors in 2008. This Agreement and Undertakings resolved concerns the Authority had regarding an alleged concerted practice among the pharmacy contractors contrary to competition law.
The Agreement and Undertakings constitute a promise from the pharmacists not, in the future, to engage in any concerted action which may breach competition law. The Authority has undertaken not to initiate legal proceedings against the relevant parties so long as they comply with the Agreement and Undertakings.
For more information on this topic please also see our Guidance Notice in Respect of Collective Action in the Community Pharmacy Sector.
- Section 4 of the Competition Act 2002
- Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union