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CADE ends Unimed exclusivity clause for Medical doctors in more than 90 cases

Exclusivity

Settlements cease 39 administrative proceedings and 54 judicial cases
by published: Mar 21, 2013 10:00 AM last modified: Apr 14, 2016 11:29 AM

In the last trial session, the Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense - CADE closed 93 cases of unimilitância when it signed administrative agreements and authorized judicial agreements with several Unimeds1. The anticompetitive practice known as unimilitância is a prohibition imposed on doctors that are part of the cooperative to work for other health plans.

As part of the 39 administrative proceedings analyzed in session, CADE signed Cease and Desist Agreements (TCC for its acronym in Portuguese) with 40 Unimeds from all over the country. The TCCs prohibit exclusivity requirements in medical services or any other type of discrimination between exclusive and non-exclusive doctors. According to these agreements, the Unimeds will also pay a sum of about BRL 810,000.00 as contribution to the Brazilian Diffuse Rights Fund (FDD for its acronym in Portuguese). The contribution specified for each case is proportional to the cooperative coverage.

The unimilitância hinders the entry of new operators in the health insurance market, limits competition and reduces consumer choices for health plans. The president of CADE, Vinicius Marques de Carvalho, said that CADE thereby concluded a large number of cases of unimilitância. "What we did today represents a remarkable reduction in the anticompetitive conduct case backlog, of Cade, on one hand, and of those discussed in judicial courts, on the other."

Through an order issued in the same session, CADE also authorized agreements that refer to 54 court cases that are pending since the 90s, in which Unimeds questioned CADE previous decisions against unimilitância. Proceedings related to the imposition of unimilitância accounted for almost a third of all of CADE´s condemnations since 1994 and cooperatives had started a judicial battle trying to reverse the penalties applied by the Tribunal of CADE.

CADE´s Attorney General, Gilvandro Araújo, stressed that the dispute with Unimed accounted for 26% of all CADE´s litigation in the judiciary. "In addition to solving the market problem and enforcing the decision of CADE, the end of the legal dispute will have an impact on the management of our office, which may dedicate itself to the of the new Competition Law missions, including dawn raids".

In sum, according to previous decisions, Unimeds should pay more than BRL 10 million in fines and shall have to stop unimilitância practices.

1Health care plan based on the cooperative work of doctors.

Cade’s Public Relations Unit