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09 October 2014
The Competition Council has recently been investigating competition law violations, in particular restrictive agreements. In March and April 2014 the council rendered two decisions and imposed fines on public institutions for breach of competition law provisions.
On March 25 2014 the council fined the Brčko Health Insurance Fund for the prevention, restriction and distortion of competition in the medicine supply market for insured individuals. The fund was fined for:
Article 5(2) of the fund's decision provided that a pharmacy which commenced business operations after the fund had entered into an agreement on provision of pharmaceutical services (through a public tender), could apply for the conclusion of the agreement at the next public tender only. Further, although the public tender in this case was cancelled, the fund concluded annexes to existing agreements with other pharmacies, but refused to enter an agreement with Onion Pharm. The council considered that the fund's decision and actions were contrary to the rules of competition, as they established unequal terms for different competitors in the same transactions. It therefore imposed a fine of KM16,000 (approximately €8,000) – 0.0458% of the fund's total financial budget for 2012.
The second fine was rendered on April 17 2014 against the Federal Ministry of Health for the prevention, restriction and distortion of competition in the market for medical examinations of persons before and during employment. The ministry had adopted two rulebooks, which provided that such medical examinations could be performed by public medical institutions only, thereby excluding privately owned medical institutions from the market. Under Article 10 of the Rulebook on Means of Medical Examinations for Persons Under Medical Control, medical examinations could be performed only by medical institutions with a hygienic-epidemiological unit, which pursuant to the ministry's interpretation of the applicable laws can be established only by a public institution. Further, Article 7(1) of the Rulebook on the Scope and Sort of Public Medical Activities Which Cannot be Subject to Private Business Activity provides that medical supervision of workers did not pertain to medical activities performed by private institutions.
The council considered that the provisions were detrimental not only for competitors on the relevant market, but also for consumers, as the price of a medical examination in a private medical institution was significantly lower than the price of the same examination in a public institution. The fine is KM29,000 (approximately €14,500) – 0.07845% of the ministry's budget for 2007.
For further information on this topic please contact Srdjana Petronijević at Moravčević Vojnović i Partneri in cooperation with Schoenherr by telephone (+381 11 320 26 00), fax (+381 11 320 26 10) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Moravčević Vojnović i Partneri website can be accessed at www.schoenherr.rs.
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