AdC investigates resale price fixing of food supplements and health food products
Press Release 06/2023
May 29, 2023
The Competition Authority (AdC) is investigating an anti-competitive practice carried out by a health food supplier, by preventing its distributors from freely setting retail prices.
The investigation started in November 2022 and, in the same year, the AdC carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of the company.
This investigation resulted in evidence that the company has fixed and imposed on distributors the retail price of food supplements and other health food products, in a regular and generalized way, at least between 2016 and 2022.
The AdC has issued a Statement of Objections, formally informing, in writing, the parties concerned of the objections raised against them.
Whenever, based on the investigations carried out, the AdC concludes that there is a reasonable possibility that a final decision finding an infringement will be adopted, it issues a Statement of Objections.
The Statement of Objections
With the issuing of the Statement of Objections, on May 24, 2023, the case identified as PRC 2022/7 is now public, pursuant to Article 31 of the Competition Law.
During the investigation, the undertaking(s) concerned can start talks with the AdC with the aim of concluding a settlement.
A Statement of Objections is a formal step in the AdC’s investigations, whereby the Authority gives the target company the opportunity to exercise the right to be heard and to defend itself in relation to the detected behaviours, the evidence gathered and the sanctions it may incur.
On the notification of the Statement of Objections, the AdC sets a reasonable period of time - not less than 30 days -, for the company to put forward, in writing, it’s reply regarding any issues that may be relevant to the decision of the case, the evidence produced or the sanctions it may incur.Once the investigation is concluded, the AdC adopts a final decision.
The AdC's accusation concerns the fixing and imposition, by a supplier, on its distributors, on a regular and general basis, of the prices at which its products were to be sold to final consumers.
The practice of fixing resale prices is contrary to the Competition Law and harms consumers.
Faced with a final sanctioning decision of anti-competitive practices, companies may be fined in up to 10% of their turnover and in up to 10% of the remuneration of the managers involved.
The violation of competition rules not only reduces the welfare of consumers, but also harms the competitiveness of companies, penalizing the economy.