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The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has authorised the takeover of Euro-Apteka, Super Zdrowie and MLV18 by DOZ, on condition that the chain sells one of its pharmacies. This decision was dictated by compliance with the provisions of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act.
The conditional consent to the acquisition of the companies is due to the possibility of limiting competition on the local market in Goleniów, in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. According to Tomasz Chróstny, president of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection, the analysis carried out by the Office showed that the sale of the pharmacy in Goleniów will allow avoiding negative effects of the transaction on the local market. According to the applicable conditions, the “Euro-Apteka” pharmacy at 4a Szczecińska Street in Goleniów will have to be sold, but the buyer cannot be associated with the DOZ capital group. In addition, the buyer must be approved by UOKiK.
Another condition is that a clause must be added to the purchase agreement in which the buyer undertakes to continue pharmacy operations at the outlet. The content of the clause will also have to be accepted by the president of UOKiK, and DOZ will have to report on the implementation of the condition to the Office.
According to the case law accepted by UOKiK, competition between pharmacies takes place within a kilometre. This is related to the preferences of consumers, who are most likely to use pharmacies located near their place of residence, work or medical centre. Another important aspect is the possibility of reaching the pharmacy on foot. People who commute to pharmacy points are usually residents of towns where there are no pharmacies.
Provisions of the Act on Competition and Consumer Protection
As can be seen from the announcement issued by the Office, the President of UOKiK could not apply other legal acts, such as the pharmaceutical law, in this case, and the consent to the concentration was based on the provisions of the Act on Competition and Consumer Protection. He used the premise of impact on competition. The Office’s decision is valid for two years, and while it is being made, the president of the OCCP may prohibit the transaction, grant consent for it to take place, or make the consent conditional on the entrepreneur fulfilling additional conditions.
It is worth noting that, according to the regulations, a transaction should be reported to the antimonopoly office if the entrepreneurs involved in it achieved in the previous year a combined turnover exceeding EUR 1bn worldwide or EUR 50m in Poland.
DOZ belongs to a capital group that operates in the area of retail sales of pharmaceutical products and manages, among others, the “DOZ Apteki dbam o zdrowie” pharmacies. In turn, the companies it is acquiring are part of the EA Group, which manages the “Euro-Apteka” and “Polonez” pharmacies.