25 March 2009

Chile’s Fasa Agrees to Pay $1 Million for Collusion

By James Attwood and Nathan Gill
March 25 (Bloomberg) -- Farmacias Ahumada SA, Chile’s second-biggest pharmacy chain known as Fasa, said it fixed medicine prices with rivals and will pay a $1 million fine.
    
Fasa reached an agreement with antitrust regulators in a case involving products sold from November 2007 to March 2008, the Santiago-based company wrote in a statement e-mailed today.
    
Regulators accused Chile’s three largest pharmacy chains of agreeing to increase prices on 222 medications in a case presented in December. The two other pharmacies, Salcobrand and Cruz Verde, deny the charges, the regulator said on its Web site. Fasa’s agreement requires approval by an antitrust court.
    
“This is a historic legal case to ensure that the market functions well for everyone,” Finance Minister Andres Velasco told reporters today in Santiago.
    
Fasa’s executive management team wasn’t aware of the price-fixing practices, the company said in a statement.