Independent pharmacies have won their seven-year battle against JSE-listed health and beauty retailer Clicks over its ownership of both pharmacies and a drug manufacturer, after the Constitutional Court ruled the company had contravened regulations to the Pharmacy Act.

The 5-4 majority judgment creates an immediate headache for Clicks, as it reinstates a previous high court ruling instructing the department of health to determine how to sanction the company and raises the prospect that it may need to sell off its pharmaceutical manufacturing subsidiary Unicorn Pharmaceuticals. While Unicorn is not a material contributor to Clicks’ operations, divestiture could affect its profit margins...

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