CFTC investigates pharmaceutical companies for infringing consumer rights

The Competition and Fair Trade Commission of Malawi (CFTC) has warned it will impose stiff sanctions on traders taking advantage of Covid-19 to infringing consumer rights. This comes amid concerns that some pharmaceutical companies and traders are taking advantage of Covid-19 epidemic to infringe rights of consumers. According to CFTC’s Executive Director James Kaphale, the Commission has been monitoring and inspecting the market and business respectively in the months of January and February 2021. Kaphale said the Commission found that five pharmaceutical companies and traders were taking advantage of the pandemic to exploit consumers by promoting and marketing products alleging that they cure or treat Covid-19, and excessive pricing of Covid-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) which is against laws. “There is no clinically tested and approved product which can cure Covid-19. Any trader found representing that their product can cure Covid-19 would be violating the Competition and Fair Trading Act (CFTA) and the Consumer Protection Act. Similarly, any trader found pricing excessively would be infringing the law”, said Kaphale. The Executive Director said the five pharmaceutical companies and traders contravened section 43(1)(d) of the CFTA which dejects engaging in conduct likely to mislead the public, and section 43(1)(g) of the CFTA which states that a person shall not, in any relation to a consumer, engage in unconscionable conduct in trade of goods and services. The commission has warned that any trader or pharmaceutical company found engaging in such malpractice will face the law. “The Commission will impose stiff sanctions against any pharmaceutical company or trader found engaging in deceptive practices or any other trade malpractices such as excessive pricing in the supply of supplies used in the management of Covid-19”, warned Kaphale. One of CFTC’s mandates in the country is to protect consumers from unfair trading practices.