The GPhC (General Pharmaceutical Council) and CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) have issued a joint letter to community pharmacies advising that they "have received reports alleging that a small minority of pharmacies are seeking to benefit from the coronavirus pandemic by charging unjustifiably high prices for essential products – including hand sanitiser, face masks and paracetamol – which continue to be in very high demand".
The letter goes on to explain that the CMA has started formal investigations into a number of retailers, including pharmacies, that it suspects to have charged excessive and unfair prices for hand sanitiser products during the pandemic.
The GPhC, on the other hand, will "not usually take action on matters that are purely commercial in nature and have no medicinal or practice-related element". However, the GPhC is keen to highlight that any pharmacy or pharmacy owner found to have breached competition or consumer protection law risks action by the GPhC for damaging public confidence (which would be categorised as misconduct under The Pharmacy Order 2010).
The full letter can be read here.
Please don't hesitate to contact me or another member of Brabners' Healthcare Sector Group should you need assistance in relation to any community pharmacy legal issue.
The letter explains the General Pharmaceutical Council’s and the Competition and Markets Authority’s respective roles and expectations as regulators in relation to this important issue during the pandemic.