The new president of the Commission for Protection of Competition (“CPC”), Ms Yulia Nenkova, announced that the CPC will focus on areas representing high consumer interest. The CPC’s enforcement priorities shall cover food retailers, banks and the pharmaceutical sector.

The president of the CPC stated that sector inquiries will be performed in each of the abovementioned sectors.

With regard to the pharmaceutical business, Ms Nenkova specified that the CPC shall investigate all levels of the supply chain, including pharmaceutical companies, wholesalers and pharmacies.

In 2015, the CPC opened a sector inquiry covering only the pharmaceutical retail market. The Bulgarian watchdog has already performed in the past a sector inquiry in the pharmaceutical sector. The report issued in 2006 placed stressed on potential antitrust infringements but no sanctions for such infringements were imposed based on the information gathered.

Earlier in May, the CPC dawn raided the local subsidiaries of Kaufland and Billa and charged in total nine food retailers in a cartel probe for alleged price-fixing on their own branded products. The investigation is still ongoing.

The announcement was made against the background of a newly-opened (i) cartel probe in the gasoline and diesel production and distribution markets and (ii) an investigation into vertical agreements in the insurance sector.