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Lloyds-Sainsbury's deal: Firms bid to avoid investigation

NHS England has approved change of ownership of some Sainsbury's pharmacies in London

The two companies have drawn up new proposals to stop an in-depth government watchdog investigation into the sale of the supermarket's pharmacies to Lloydspharmacy

  • Multiple and supermarket giant in bid to stop in-depth investigation into whether their £140m deal will restrict patient choice
  • Competition watchdog has until December 29 to decide whether new plan addresses concerns over consumer choice
  • News comes as NHS England approves change of ownership of some Sainsbury's pharmacies


Lloydspharmacy and Sainsbury's have submitted fresh plans to the government's competition watchdog in an attempt to avoid an in-depth investigation into the sale of the supermarket's 281 pharmacies.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) gave the companies until last Friday (December 18) to address its concerns over Lloydspharmacy's acquisition reducing consumer choice in 78 areas, or said they would face further investigation. 

The watchdog told C+D on Monday (December 21) that it has received proposals from the companies. It could not comment on their contents but revealed it will decide whether they sufficiently address competition concerns by December 29. 

The news came as NHS England gave Lloydspharmacy the green light to take ownership of some in-store Sainsbury's pharmacies. In letters to local contractors seen by C+D, the commissioning body confirmed it had approved Lloydspharmacy's applications for a change of ownership of two Sainsbury's pharmacies in south-east London.

The multiple told C+D this did not mean it owned those pharmacies yet, and said it was in contact with the CMA about the process.

The CMA told C+D that, if any branches changed hands, Lloydspharmacy would "run the risk" of having to pay extra money to "unwind" the two businesses should they pose a threat to consumer choice.

The watchdog has the powers to stop any further integration of the two businesses, but such an order was not in place at the moment, it said.


More news on the deal...

Day Lewis ‘very keen’ to buy Lloyds pharmacies

Lloyds competitors may try to 'scupper' Sainsbury's sale

Sainsbury's pharmacy sale faces 'in-depth' investigation



What do you think of the supermarket deal?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


Opreet Ghag, Locum pharmacist


Richard Bax, Pharmacy Asistant/ Medicine Counter Assistant

Published today...29/12/2015 The CMA has referred Celesio’s anticipated acquisition of Sainsbury’s pharmacy business for a phase 2 investigation. Earlier this month, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that it would refer the merger for an in-depth investigation unless Celesio offered acceptable undertakings to address the CMA’s competition concerns. The CMA’s initial investigation identified 78 local areas where customers may be affected by a loss of competition between Lloyds Pharmacy (a Celesio subsidiary) and Sainsbury’s pharmacies. The CMA also indicated that in other local areas it had been unable to reach a positive conclusion on whether the merger gives rise to a realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition. Celesio has not offered any undertakings in lieu and the CMA will therefore now refer the merger. A decision on the merger will be made by a group of independent panel members supported by a case team of CMA staff. The deadline for the final report will be 13 June 2016.

Farm Assistant, Community pharmacist

Just means they will have to up the bribe to the "independent" panel and that I am afraid is the truth because I have seen a similar situation before with our local planning committee.

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

There are loads of dodgy appointments in all walks of life. Whyever did you think it would be different in Pharmacy ? Especially when in pharmacy there are some seriously dodgy characters who speak with forked tongues.

John Randell, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

they will legally restructure the deal to make it look like they are seperate companies but in reality they will be one company THINK LLOYDS BANK AND TSB BANK...HECK EVERYTHING IS THE SAME EXCEPT THE NAME

Miracure Pharmacist, Work for a health/commissioning consultancy company

Following on from my misfortune with the legal system in Britain I have to now take action against t the police force for branding me a criminal.... It was an innocent mistake... Boots fabricated the evidence made me out to be hard core criminal...They didn't want me a pharmacist ĺ.......

Paul Miyagi, Information Technology

You have my deepest sympathy . Boots is a dreadful company and would lie through its teeth to save its skin. I resigned from them recently because the working conditions are unsafe and when you raise the issue, yes you are branded a trouble maker. Oh, and guess what. Reported it to GPhC and they turn a blind eye. Bloody scandalous !!!!!

MICHAEL PARKER, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Isn't there an ex director on the GPhc.??

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I suspect the next stage will be for Lloyds to sell off it's weaker performing or those requiring refurbishment stores.

Farm Assistant, Community pharmacist

Fresh plans involving brown envelopes stuffed with filthy folding. Basically this whole country is for sale, principles and all.

Paul Miyagi, Information Technology

Well they probably wouldn't want an investigation . Someone looking at what goes on behind close doors. Not likely & most unwelcome.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I suspect that may be the case as well.

Dave Downham, Manager

It's got to be worth a poll: "Do you think that the Lloyds-Sainsbury deal will go through following a back-door deal with the CMA to avoid investigation?"

Bal Singh, Locum pharmacist

No. That will lose the C & D favorable comment from all 3 parties.

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

Wait for the lobbying to kick in and Ministers to overrule the CMA. After all this is what happened to the OFT in 2003 and some juicy directorships ensued. Not rocket science.

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