Poles target VP Market drugstores

  • 2004-10-27
  • Baltic News Service
VILNIUS - Polish pharmacies have formed a united front against Vilniaus Prekyba, owner of VP Market, and are preventing the Lithuanian retailer from opening its chain of discount drug stores, according to reports this week.

The Lietuvos Rytas daily reported on Oct. 25 that Polish competitors of VP Market's pharmacy chain, Euro-Apteka, feared the Lithuanians' competitive edge thanks to its economy of scale and low prices and were trying to prevent more chain stores from opening. The competitors are openly urging local buyers and suppliers to boycott the Lithuanian chain, while Euro-Apteka's Polish employees have been accused of betraying their homeland, according to the paper.

VP Market owners have applied to the Polish Health Ministry, the competition watchdog and other authorities for assistance in resolving the conflict.

Euro-Apteka even intends to go to court to seek damages, amounting to hundreds of thousands of Polish zlotys, for "intentionally stalling" the opening of several pharmacies, the paper reported.

The Lithuanians, who have expanded their Polish chain to 36 pharmacies within three years, accuse their rivals of conducting a smear campaign against them in an attempt to oust them from of the market.