Dark clouds are gathering over the pharmaceutical market. As if the struggle with the wholesalers exploiting varying stock levels and varying reimbursement values on the intra-EU market were not enough, there are now two more challenges of considerable gravity for Poles: rapid disappearance of retail pharmacies and the oligopoly among drug wholesalers (…)

The Polish authority charged with enforcing the legislative Act regarding competition and consumer protection is UOKiK, as art. 31 of the Act expressly provides. Accordingly, the position of UOKiK should be taken into account whensoever the Pharmaceutical Law makes reference to the antimonopoly laws, explains Bernadeta Kasztelan-Świetlik, partner at GESSEL and former vice president of UOKiK. “As it assesses a proposed concentration in the market, UOKiK considers the interests of all the market participants, and studies indicate that almost 2/3 of Polish consumers buy their medicines from a pharmacy which they can reach on foot within approximately 15 minutes. Business associations such as the National Pharmacists’ Chamber, meanwhile, have the tendency to think first and foremost in terms of the interests of their membership base. The net effect may be comprised in a reduction in the number of retail pharmacies serving Polish patients and, thus, in detriment to the consumer, who now has to cover a longer distance in order to reach a functioning pharmacy”, she adds (...)


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