CADE fines associations, clinics and hospital from Ceará in BRL 27.5 million for anticompetitive conducts
In the hearing of this Wednesday (23 September), the Administrative Council for Economic Defence (CADE) found guilty the association namely Associação dos Hospitais do Estado do Ceará (Ahece) for the induction of uniform behaviour, and nine clinics and hospitals for a cartel in the market of medical and hospital services in Fortaleza, Ceará. Due to the anticompetitive practices, defendants must pay a fine on the total amount of BRL 27.5 million.
The rapporteur commissioner, Luis Henrique Bertolino Braido, highlighted in his vote that the evidences gathered during the investigation indicated that the defendants established a single negotiation block to impose prices and readjustment of prices, making use of health insurance plan discrediting as a means of imposing their terms.
The evidences of the anticompetitive conducts occurred via emails with price sheets of hospital services or uniform readjustment prices mailed by Ahece, on behalf of affiliates, to the health insurance providers. In addition, there are evidences that the association affected and promoted the uniform behaviour among competitors from 2006 through 2008, and strong proof that it increased and was reasonably successful from 2009 through 2012.
As to the clinics and hospitals, the Tribunal concluded as proven that prices and services agreements, that is cartel, occurred among competitors throughout the years 2009 to 2012. “It is clearly observed that the defendants have reunited to set price adjustments, and goods and services prices to be purchased by Unimed. The defendants have also attempted to impose the acceptance of these conditions through newspaper notices, in which they have threaten to suspend services,” stated the rapporteur.
The Tribunal fined Ahece to pay the amount of BRL 1 million for the damages caused to free competition and consumers of health insurance plans.
Regarding the other defendants, the fines applied are as follows:
Clínica São Carlos: BRL 4,201,521.00
Otoclínica: BRL 2,542,690.81
Hospital São Mateus: BRL 5,602,028.00
Wilka e Ponte (Hospital Gênesis): BRL 3,135,465.31
Casa de Saúde e Maternidade São Raimundo: BRL 1,261,053.81
Hospital Cura D’Ars – Sociedade Beneficente São Camilo: BRL 2,998,716.61
União das Clínicas do Ceará (Uniclinic): BRL 1,798,973.49
Clínica de Endoscopia e Cirurgia Digestiva Dr. Edgard Nadra Ltda (Hospital e Maternidade Gastroclínica): BRL 3,116,383.12
Instituto do Câncer do Ceará: BRL 1,907,018.11
Access the Administrative Proceedings 08012.007011/2006-97.