The investigation is being carried out under the CMA’s competition law powers rather than under its consumer protection functions.
On 18 June, the CMA released an update noting that it had launched an investigation under Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998 into suspected breaches of competition law by four pharmacies and convenience stores. In particular, the investigations relate to suspected charging of excessive and unfair prices for hand sanitiser products during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As noted in a prior blog post, the CMA believed that there was a significant risk that prices would rise above justifiable levels in a number of sectors because of the COVID-19 outbreak, coupled with the restrictions on businesses and people. As of 17 May, the CMA had written to more than 200 traders about this issue. In its communication, the CMA asked for more information or expressed concern about what the CMA considered may be unjustifiable price increases. Continue Reading