Called to Liverpool or Iron Palace!


I am a close neighbor of the Perisur shopping center. I frequently go to their facilities in search of a service or to make a purchase. And in passing, when the need arose to acquire medicines or toiletries, I have had to suffer in the pharmacy of the Sanborns chain the rigors of its monopolistic practices and its obvious monopsonic impositions to the detriment of its suppliers. Toiletries in the brands I require rarely appear on the shelves. I can never find the Head & Shoulders shampoo, the Grisi laboratory creams or the Plantaben digestive supplement! Why do they limit my ability to choose? Why do I have to acquire the goods that they decide and not those that I look for in my quality of consumer, supposedly free?

From my days as an economics student, I became aware that monopolistic situations are detrimental to consumer welfare. Among them, affecting their ability to choose between competing goods and products. Throughout the very large Perisur shopping center, Sanborns is the only pharmacy in operation. And the worst thing is that the pharmacies of the competition are relatively far away. The public denunciation of this case makes sense, because the explained phenomenon must be repeated in many of the shopping centers that exist in the metropolitan area of ​​Mexico City and throughout the country. In other words, it is a case in which a monopolistic and monopsony arrangement can affect hundreds and even thousands of consumers and also a good number of pharmacy supply companies.

What would be possible to do about it? Of course, -God forbid- I rule out the possible intervention of some governmental authority. Perhaps it would turn out worse and perhaps the intervention –with the participation of inspectors– would only serve to provoke the extraction of some bribe, through coercion. As if we citizens didn’t know ad nauseam the ways in which matters of this type are handled in Mexico!

Instead, as a professional economist, I would prefer to call for more trade competition. How is it possible that Liverpool or the Palacio de Hierro have not caught on to the business vein, installing their own pharmacy? Or why haven’t any of the big chains in that field opened a branch in Perisur?

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