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NIA warns independent pharmacies about franchising activities

According to the statement of the Supreme Pharmaceutical Chamber (NIA) published in August, a franchise agreement, although acceptable from the point of view of civil law, may be perceived as an instrument to circumvent the pharmaceutical law in force. This may result in the withdrawal of a permit to operate a pharmacy. In the NIA’s opinion, such agreements are offered especially by large pharmacy chains. According to the new legal regulations, they cannot open or take over new pharmacies.

Pursuant to Article 99(3) of the Act, a permit to operate a public pharmacy is not issued if the entity applying for the operation of a pharmacy runs more than 1% of public pharmacies in the voivodeship or entities controlled directly or indirectly by it, in particular subsidiaries within the meaning of competition and consumer protection regulations, operate more than 1% of pharmacies in the voivodeship.

In the NIA’s opinion, this provision refers not only to the controlling entity, but also to the controlled entity. A pharmacy may become such an entity if it signs a franchise agreement. The pharmacist who signs the agreement may not know the scale of agreements concluded on the same terms with other pharmacists and may therefore be included in the group of subsidiaries that exhaust the features of the regulation.

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