19 March 2020
On 13 March 2020, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (the “AMC”) announced that it would investigate any unjustified price hikes for medicines, face masks and other personal health protection items, the creation of artificial product shortages, and other abuses generating profits from coronavirus fears. On 15 March 2020, Olexiy Khmelnytsky, Head of the Kyiv Regional Office of the AMC, announced an investigation against Ukraine International Airlines regarding the recent price increases for airline tickets. With public anxiety increasing, the first TV commercials for a drug which allegedly "fights" coronaviruses have already appeared on Ukrainian television.
Despite the widespread belief that any crisis is a new opportunity, the coronavirus pandemic is obviously not the best time to mislead consumers and set unfairly high prices for masks, medicines, disinfectants and food products. Business needs to bear in mind the mandatory requirements of the competition laws to prevent competition law violations in a time of panic.