On 3 December 2015, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published an open letter to private medical providers summarising the competition law obligations to which they must adhere, and the consequences they face for breaching those obligations.
The open letter follows the CMA’s decision to fine the Consultant Eye Surgeons Partnership in August 2015. The CMA outlines the reasons for this infringement decision and emphasises the general need for healthcare sector organisations to take legal advice before entering a new collaboration, partnership or joint venture.
The letter was accompanied by the following guidance documents:
- A 60 second summary of private medical practitioners and competition law;
- Private medical practitioners: information about fees;
- Competition law for private medical practitioners: can’s, cant’s and maybes.
The CMA’s open letter and accompanying guidance is the latest in a number of steps taken by the regulator in relation to competition in the healthcare sector. As the sector has now been effectively put on notice by the CMA, all healthcare sector providers in the UK should act, as a matter of priority, to ensure that they are not engaging in anti-competitive behaviour and that they have a clear compliance process in place to prevent breaches and to escalate any issues of concern.