OFT 'best placed to resolve health price actions'

A SENIOR healthcare lawyer at McKenna & Co has called for medical product pricing decisions to be kept out of court after his firm's successful action on vitamin prices.

Healthcare partner Gary Hickinbottom said the Office of Fair Trading was best placed to resolve the public interest issues involved.

His comments come after McKennas won injunctions on behalf of Roche Products and Seven Seas, halting last month's attempt by supermarket chain Asda to cut the prices of vitamins and food supplements below the retail price maintenance level.

Asda gave undertakings to restore the prices to the “proper and contractual” level. The OFT is investigating the price cuts.

Hickinbottom said: “The proper forum for the serious and complex public interest issues raised by retail price maintenance is not the ordinary courts but the OFT, which has a duty to keep the public interest as paramount.

“In the meantime it is only right that retailers comply with their contracts which lawfully contain proper retail price maintenance clauses.”