THE Competition Authority has published its notice in respect of Collective Action in the Community Pharmacy Sector.
The notice provides guidance on the application of Irish and European competition law to collective action by community pharmacy contractors, and other health professionals, when engaging with the Health Services Executive (HSE).
In particular, it clarifies the limits competition law places on coordinated action by self-employed health professionals in relation to key competitive factors such as fees.
According to Bill Prasifka, chairperson of the Competition Authority: “Competition law limits the co-ordinated activities of professionals like pharmacy contractors, so that, for example, they cannot, directly or indirectly, engage in collective negotiations on fees. That kind of activity results in higher prices than would be paid in a competitive environment. The buyer in this instance is the HSE, but the payer, ultimately, is taxpayers.”
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