AC Health's St. Joseph Drugstore acquisition under PCC review

Ayala Healthcare Holdings Inc.'s (AC Health) pharmaceutical arm AHCHI Pharma Ventures Inc.'s (Ayala Pharma Ventures) planned acquisition of St. Joseph Drugstore is currently being reviewed by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC).

The review is aligned with the PCC's mandate to assess mergers or acquisitions under the Philippine Competition Act of 2015, in order to ensure fair competition remains in the market and consumers are protected.

In late December last year, Ayala Pharma Ventures, who serves as Generika Drugstore's operator, announced that they bought a "significant minority stake" Joleco Resources Inc. which operates popular North Luzon pharma firm St. Joseph Drugstore.

In a statement on April 23, the PCC said Ayala Pharma Ventures notified their agency of the propose acquisition of a 49 percent stake in Joleco Resources.

According to their initial findings, the Phase 1 review "pointed to potential competition concerns in the retail sale of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical products across 28 localities in Northern Luzon," spanning the Ilocos Region and Cordillera Administrative Region.

Hence, the PCC is opening a Phase 2 review to conduct a "more detailed and extensive assessment on whether the transaction may lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the relevant markets."

Aside from Generika Drugstore, which is a leading generic retail pharmacy, AC Health's portfolio also includes control of the pharma importation and distribution business I.E. Medica, and MedEthix.