The Consumer Ombudsman demands that the penalty payment of EUR 100,000 imposed on Suomen Apteekkiyhtiöt be paid

Based on the Consumer Ombudsman’s investigations, Oy Suomen Apteekkiyhtiöt Ab has violated the ban imposed in 2017 on the company regarding misleading telephone sales. Conducting telephone sales of vitamins in 2019, the company has given the impression that it is a licensed pharmacy even though it does not have a pharmacy license.

The Consumer Ombudsman has requested the Market Court to enforce the penalty payment of EUR 100,000 imposed on Suomen Apteekkiyhtiöt. In addition, the Consumer Ombudsman demands that a new ban is imposed with a penalty payment of 150,000, as the ban imposed on the company in 2017 has not deterred the company from violating the Consumer Protection Act.

In 2017, the Consumer Ombudsman banned Suomen Apteekkiyhtiöt from misleading consumers in telephone sales by referring to the company as Suomen Apteekki (Finnish Pharmacy), Suomen Apteekkiyhtiöt (Finnish Pharmacy Corporations) or using other phrases containing the Finnish word for pharmacy, unless stated unequivocally and clearly in the marketing telephone call that it was not regarding a company that has a pharmacy license.

However in 2019, Suomen Apteekkiyhtiöt has marketed products such as vitamin B12 using the name Suomen Apteekki. The name Suomen Apteekki has not been registered, and it is not an auxiliary company name of Oy Suomen Apteekkiyhtiöt Ab. The company does not have a pharmacy license granted by the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea; therefore, it may not conduct pharmaceutical business.

The company takes advantage of the general trust related to the Finnish word for pharmacy. Even though the word has not been protected separately, using it in marketing creates a false image of the company’s position. The company has not attempted to prevent or correct the false image that their marketing creates for consumers.

Further information:
Press release 6 November 2017: The Consumer Ombudsman has issued an injunction against Suomen Apteekki due to misleading telemarketing
The Consumer Ombudsman’s newsletter 4/2016: Harhaanjohtavaa luontaistuotteiden puhelinmyyntiä (Misleading sales of natural products)