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  • Demolin Pierre

    Brussels (Belgium)

Belgian Competition Authority carries out ‘dawn-raids’ of pharmaceutical wholesalers.


In December 2015 Celesio AG a leading international wholesale and retail company and provider of logistics and services to the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector announced it had reached agreement to acquire the Belgian distribution business of French health services cooperative Welcoop. Under the terms of the agreement Celesio, via an affiliate, is to acquire:

• Belmedis, the number two in wholesale pharma operations in Belgium;

• Cophana, a leading pre-wholesaler in Belgium; and

• A majority stake in Sofiadis, a buying group of around 430 independent pharmacists. The transaction is subject to the approval of the competition authorities. After receiving what it is reported to have termed “bizarre” answers during its Phase I review of the acquisition, the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) has been carrying out so called ‘dawn raids’ at pharmaceutical wholesalers.

The BCA web-site states: “The Belgian Competition Authority confirms inspections at several companies active in the wholesale distribution of pharmaceutical and para-pharmaceuticals products to pharmacies”. The Press Release says: “The BCA has information about possible infringements of Article IV.1 of the Code of Economic Law and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and in particular, of alleged participation in anticompetitive agreements and/or concerted practices between wholesalers active in Belgium relating to the services which they provide to pharmaceutical laboratories on the one hand and to pharmacies on the other hand”.

The link to the BCA Press release is here: http://www.belgiancompetition.be/en/about-us/actualities/press-release-no-20-2016