The chair of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has stepped aside while the Government’s competition watchdog investigates ‘allegations of collusion’ against a wholesale company in which he owns shares, the lobbying group has said.

Nitin Sodha is stepping aside due to an ongoing investigation into Lexon UK by the Competition Markets Authority (CMA), the NPA announced today (3 June).

Mr Sodha is being replaced in his position ‘for the time being’ by the NPA’s vice chair Andrew Lane, who owns the AlChem Pharmacy Group and is the chair of Gloucestershire local pharmaceutical committee (LPC).

The CMA is looking into allegations that four pharmaceutical companies, including Lexon UK, ‘agreed not to compete for the supply' to the NHS of Prochlorperazine 3mg dissolvable tablets, thus driving up the cost of the drug.

The CMA’s findings are currently only provisional, and the companies involved may now make representations before a final decision is reached, the watchdog said.

The Pharmacist has contacted Lexon UK for comment.

Mr Sodha said: ‘I am stepping aside with immediate effect, so that the NPA can remain focused on supporting its members and securing a sustainable future for independent pharmacies, rather than be distracted by continued questions about my position as chair.’

NPA chief executive, Mark Lyonette, said: ‘The allegations against Lexon don’t relate to Nitin’s work at the NPA, yet he has made a decision to stand aside as chair in the best interests of the association and its members.’