The Competition Commission is accusing two companies of engaging in anti-competitive behavior during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The companies, Medmart Health and BabyBug, are accused of conspiring to fix prices of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks and dividing the market by allocating customers among themselves. The alleged collusion occurred around December 2020, and involved the two companies agreeing to adjust prices and stock availability on certain days in order to limit competition between themselves.
They also reportedly agreed to alternate days on which one company would price higher than the other. The prices for the face masks in question ranged from R79 to R90 per pack of 50 packs of three-ply face masks. As a result of the allegations, Takealot, the online platform through which the companies sold their products, suspended BabyBug on December 8, 2022 and Medmart on June 14, 2021. The Competition Commission has now referred the matter to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution.