The UK Competition Authority writes an open letter to the pharmaceutical and food and drink industries warning them not to exploit the COVID-19 outbreak to charge prices that might be deemed excessive

Coronavirus (COVID-19): CMA open letter to pharmaceutical and food and drink industries.*

The Competition and Markets Authority has published an open letter for businesses in the pharmaceutical and food and drink industries.

Details

We have written an open letter to the pharmaceutical and food and drink industries warning firms that they should not capitalise on the current situation by charging unjustifiably high prices for essential goods or making misleading claims around their efficacy.

We are prepared to use all of the powers available to us to ensure that markets continue to work well during the coronavirus outbreak.

COVID-19: sales and pricing practices during Coronavirus outbreak

The CMA has been monitoring reports of changes to sales and pricing practices during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) wants to ensure that traders do not exploit the current situation to take advantage of people.

It will consider any evidence that companies may have broken competition or consumer protection law, for example by charging excessive prices or making misleading claims about the efficacy of protective equipment. And it will take direct enforcement action in appropriate cases.

In addition, the CMA will assess whether it should advise Government to consider taking direct action to regulate prices.

CMA Chairman Lord Tyrie said:

“We will do whatever we can to act against rip-offs and misleading claims, using any or all of our tools; and where we can’t act, we’ll advise government on further steps they could take, if necessary.”

CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said:

“We urge retailers to behave responsibly throughout the coronavirus outbreak and not to make misleading claims or charge vastly inflated prices. We also remind members of the public that these obligations may apply to them too if they resell goods, for example on online marketplaces.”

*This is the original title of the press release. The title above has been amended in order to match the e-Competitions format. Individual authors are welcome to provide original independent commentaries on the case law. Articles are subject to approval by the Board of e-Competitions Bulletin before publication based on the Editorial Policy (click here).

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UK Competition Authority, The UK Competition Authority writes an open letter to the pharmaceutical and food and drink industries warning them not to exploit the COVID-19 outbreak to charge prices that might be deemed excessive, 20 mars 2020, e-Competitions March 2020, Art. N° 94198

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