Council of AMO SR decided on the unlawful restriction of competition in the area of providing pharmaceutical care in Surany

01.06.2020
On 15 May 2020 the Council of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (hereafter "the Council of the Office") issued a decision No. 2020/OHS/POK/R/14 in the matter of the infringement of the provision of the Article 39 of the Act on Protection of Competition.
 
With the exception of the fine imposed, the Council of the Office agreed with the first-instance decision of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, the Division of Cartels, (hereafter "the Office") of 2 October 2019.
 
In the first-instance decision, the Office came to the conclusion that the municipality Surany, by issuing a binding opinion on the provision of pharmaceutical care in a public pharmacy, had created a barrier to the entry of the undertaking Dr. Max to the market in the area of providing pharmaceutical care in public pharmacies in the territory of the municipality Surany. By this conduct, the municipality both favoured undertakings currently operating on the market in the area of providing pharmaceutical care in public pharmacies in the territory of the municipality Surany and restricted competition.
 
During assessing a possible infringement of the Article 39 of the Act on Protection of Competition, the Council of the Office came out mainly from the factual state and evaluated the chosen procedure exclusively in terms of its possible anti-competitive character.
 
At the same time, the Council of the Office came to the conclusion that in the case of the subsequent conduct of Nitra self-governing region, which consisted of the rejection of an application of the undertaking Dr. Max for the issuance of a permission for the provision of pharmaceutical care in a public pharmacy in the territory of the municipality Surany, as well as the conduct of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic, which consisted of the rejection of an appeal of the undertaking Dr. Max against the decision of Nitra self-governing region, it is not possible to state that there was an attempt to create a barrier to the entry of the undertaking Dr. Max to the market. Likewise, their conduct did not constitute favouring a particular public pharmacy nor an attempt to restrict competition. For this reason, it is not possible to conclude that by the conduct of Nitra self-governing region or the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic there came to the infringement of the Article 39 of the Act on Protection of Competition.
 
The Council of the Office, after taking all factors into account, reduced the sanction imposed on the municipality Surany by the first-instance body to EUR 10 000. According to the Council of the Office, the fine thus imposed is legal and proportionate, it fulfills a repressive function (punishing the municipality for its conduct that is against the Act on Protection of Competition), as well as a general prevention function (sufficiently deterrent effect also on other municipalities, higher territorial units and local governments).
 
The Council of the Office´s decision came into force on 1 June 2020.
Last update:02.06.2020