Greek Authorities Levy 1.67 Million Euro Fines on U.S. Health Giants Amid Cost-of-Living Crisis

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On Wednesday, Greek authorities announced fines totalling 1.67 million euros ($1.81 million), penalizing the local branches of two U.S.-based healthcare and consumer product giants for suspected violations of a profit cap implemented amid Greece's cost-of-living crisis.

The Development Ministry disclosed that Johnson & Johnson Hellas received a fine of 1 million euros, while Colgate-Palmolive Hellas faced a penalty of 672,000 euros. The ministry did not elaborate on the specific breaches.

These fines were enforced under a law enacted in July, which imposes gross profit caps on various essential consumer goods and services, predominantly in the food and health sectors, until the conclusion of 2023. According to the law, the gross profit per unit must not surpass the levels observed before December 31, 2021.

The cost-of-living crisis, exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine, has been identified as a significant concern for most Greeks in successive polls. Many have reported cutting back on essential purchases. Housing costs, along with food and other consumer products, have experienced a sharp increase in Greece.

This issue has intensified pressure on the center-right government, re-elected in June, and Development Minister Costas Skrekas emphasized on Wednesday that combating high prices remains a "top government priority." He assured ongoing market monitoring to ensure strict adherence to the profit cap.

Earlier on November 2, the ministry imposed 1 million euro fines on the Greek branches of Procter & Gamble and Unilever for alleged violations of the gross profit cap.

As of October, the year-on-year inflation rate in Greece was 3.4%, a significant decrease from the 9.1% recorded a year earlier, according to the country's statistical authority.

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