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The Competition Commission is accusing two companies selling personal protective equipment (PPE) of colluding during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The commission alleges that around December 2020, Medmart Health and BabyBug colluded to fix the prices of face masks and divided the market by allocating customers in contravention of the Competition Act.
Medmart and BabyBug sell PPE products, including face masks, on the online platform, Takealot. A supplier that has lower prices and available stock is likely to have its product be more visible on the platform, the commission said.
It is alleged that the two companies allocated days to each other on which each company would adjust its respective prices and stock availability to limit competition between themselves. They also agreed to alternate the days in which one would price higher than the other.
The prices ranged from R79 to R90 per pack of 50 packs of three-ply face masks. Takealot suspended BabyBug from its platform on 8 December 2022, and Medmart was suspended on 14 June 2021 on suspicion of collusion.
The commission has referred the matter to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution.