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Competition watchdog looks into Sainsbury's pharmacies sale

The Competition and Markets Authority will decide whether Lloydspharmacy's acquisition of the 281 branches will substantially reduce competition in the UK

The government’s competition watchdog is deciding whether to intervene in Lloydspharmacy’s planned acquisition of Sainsbury’s pharmacies due to its impact on consumer choice.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is considering whether the sale of the 281 pharmacies by February 2016, announced in July, will result in a “substantial lessening of competition within any UK market”, it said on Wednesday (September 9).

Celesio told C+D it will not comment on the inquiry "while proceedings are ongoing". 

If the CMA decides that Lloydspharmacy parent company Celesio will significantly reduce competition by taking control of more than a quarter of the supply of any goods or services, it can choose to “remedy, mitigate or prevent" the deal.

The deal will increase the network of Lloydspharmacies to around 1,800 – 13% of the total number of community pharmacies in the UK. Boots is the only company accounting for a larger share, with 2,300 pharmacies and roughly 16% of the market.

The CMA has invited the public to submit evidence of any potential competition issues to [email protected] by September 23, with a decision expected by November 11.

Well CEO Zameer Choudrey told C+D on Wednesday (September 9) that the multiple considered bidding for Sainsbury's pharmacies, before deciding it was "not a good fit" for the business.


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