CADE Condemns Unimed for Recurrence on the Imposition of exclusivity clause to its Members
The Administrative Council for Economic Defense Tribunal – CADE’s Tribunal condemned, on Wednesday, November 6th, the Rio Grande do Sul Unimed – Cooperativa de Serviços de Saúde dos Vales do Taquari e Rio Pardo Ltda. for the recurrence on unimilitância. This anticompetitive conduct is a prohibition imposed on doctors that are part of the cooperative to work for other health plans. The fine applied is of almost BRL 2.9 million (Administrative Procedure no. 08012.010576/2009-02).
Ricardo Ruiz, Reporting Commissioner, stated in his vote that Unimed Vales do Taquari e Rio Pardo practiced illicit conduct, limiting or impeding the access of new companies to the market through the imposition of exclusivity clauses on the provision of cooperative medical services, it also created barriers to the constitution, operation and development of competing companies.
Ruiz highlighted that the company’s conduct is one of most investigated and condemned practices by the Brazilian System for Competition Defense – SBDC. Since the entry into force of Law 8.884/94, CADE’s condemnations against unimilitância at the health sector is higher than 50 cases. Unimed Vales do Taquari e Rio Pardo has already been condemned by the Council in 2001 for imposing such measure on doctors that are members of the cooperative.
In March 2013, CADE celebrated a Cease and Desist agreement with 40 Unimeds in all Brazilian territory that prohibited unimilitância. Ruiz affirmedd that Unimed Vales do Taquari e Rio Pardo’s absence on the agreement signed, demonstrated the company’s predisposition to remain acting on the anticompetitive conduct.
“Considering the fact that the Company has already been condemned in March 2001 for the same violation against the economic order, and that the company chose not participate on the agreement signed with the Unimed System, the absence of good will on their conduct is evident”, claimed the commissioner.
CADE determined a fine and the change of the Cooperative Social Statute, so that to exclude all dispositions that may imply the imposition of the exclusivity clause on the provision of cooperative medical services. All determinations must be fulfilled in a period of 60 days counting since the publication of the decision in the National Official Gazette.