The number of pharmaceutical suppliers and retailers accused of inflating prices by the Trade Competition & Consumer Protection Authority (TCCPA) has now reached 19, with 11 importers added to the list along with the previously charged eight wholesalers.
The Authority's case processor filed a charge on the 11 importers on December 26, 2017, accusing them of increasing prices of imported medicines and medical equipment by three percent to 100pc since October 11, 2017.
Their charges were filed in two separate cases, alleging all of them of price inflation and accusing only five of them of abusing of their market dominance.
In the second file, the Authority claims that Beker General Business Plc, Dat International Trading, Pharma Berber Plc, Amba Pharmaceuticals Plc and Karoga Pharmaceuticals Plc abused the customers after agreeing to inflate the price.
Along with the five companies Kefiyalew Gari, Droga Pharma Plc, Mefana Import & Export Plc, Shitama International Trading Plc, Hamernola Pharmaceutical Plc and Afri-med General Importer, are accused of fixing the market price with a simultaneous price increase.
The plaintiff seeks a penalty of 10pc of the annual turnover of all companies and additional 10pc fine for the five companies in the second file.
On the day the charge was filed, the Administrative Court of the Authority issued a summon for the 11 defendants along with the statement of claim by the case processor. The importers are required to appear before the court with their statement of defence on January 10, 2018.
These 11 companies were charged after the Authority's investigation team began screening 40 accused pharmaceutical and equipment importers since October 2017. Along with the importers, local manufacturers were also under probe.
"But, we didn't find any irregularity with the local manufacturers," Endalkachew Tsegaye, public relations director of the Authority told Fortune.
Currently, there are over 258 pharmaceutical product and medical equipment suppliers distributing their products to 304 pharmacies, 250 drug stores and 1,950 rural drug vendors. There are 22 pharmaceutical and medical product manufacturers supplying about 20pc of the domestic demand.
Along with its charge, the plaintiff has also attached two separate documents as evidence with three witnesses.
A month ago, the Authority charged eight pharmaceutical and medical equipment wholesalers accusing them of inflating their prices post-devaluation.
In the same week, the wholesalers responded to the charge against them through their statement of defence submitted on October 25, 2017. Their case is adjourned to January 3, 2018.