- 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...