Counsel secures 45% fine reduction for pharmaceutical company in Chapter I investigation

01 Mar 2014

In May 2014, the OFT issued a decision finding that finding that Lloyds Pharmacy Limited, the retail pharmacy division of Celesio AG and the Hamsard Group had breached the Chapter I prohibition by entering into a market sharing agreement in relation to the supply of prescription medicines to care homes in England. The infringement lasted less than 6 months and related to an agreement not to supply prescription medicines to existing care home customers between May 2011 and November 2011.

Anneli Howard, instructed by Muckle LLP, acted for the Hamsard Group after the dawn raids following Lloyds’ application for leniency. The Hamsard Group took the novel approach of applying for Type C leniency and, at the same time, requesting early resolution from the outset before a Statement of Objections had been issued. Their admissions and cooperation enabled the case to be fast tracked and merited a substantial reduction, comprising both a reduction for leniency and settlement. The Group also earned a separate reduction for instituting a competition compliance program. The eventual fine was reduced from £646,426 to £370,226.

Anneli advised the company on cooperation strategy and represented the company and its executives in early resolution discussions with the OFT. She also drafted the Group’s response to the Statement of Objections and carried out competition law training for the Group’s employees.

A copy of the OFT’s press releases can be found at: