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CADE’s General Superintendence suggests the condemnation of Anesthesiology Societies and Cooperatives

Anticompetitive Conduct

The conducts would affect the market for the provision of anesthesiology services of Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Maranhão and Mato Grosso do Sul
published: Mar 27, 2014 10:00 AM last modified: Apr 20, 2016 10:24 AM

The General Superintendence of the Administrative Council for Economic Defense – CADE recommended, in reports published on 28 February and 5 March, the condemnation of two medical cooperatives and two medical societies for infringements to the economic order in the anesthesiology services market of Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Maranhão and Mato Grosso do Sul.

The accused institutions are the Cooperativa de Médicos Anestesiologistas do Rio Grande do Norte – Coopanest-RN (08012.004420/2004-70), the Cooperativa dos Médicos Anestesiologistas da Paraíba – Coopanest-PB (08012.007380/2002-56), the Central de Anestesia Ltda. – CEANEST (08012.002725/2011-71) and the Servan Anestesiologia e Tratamento de Dor de Campo Grande (08012.002706/2009-25).

In every case, CADE’s Superintendence identified that a significant share of the parties’ memberships was formed of anesthesiologists from the state or the city where they operate. CADE’s General Superintendence understands that such concentration limited the possible competition between the anesthesiology service providers, and allowed for the adoption of anticompetitive conducts.

The practices adopted by the cooperatives and societies diverge in each case. Some of the conducts that the Superintendence considers anticompetitive are: abusive boycotts; threats to the National Health System (SUS in its Portuguese acronym) and other health plans; mandatory exclusivity of associate doctors; impracticability of competition in hiring medical services from SUS, which guarantees the hiring of the cooperatives without recourse to a public bid; and non-competition agreements between the cooperatives.

According to the Superintendence, these practices go beyond the legitimate right of association of the doctors. Also those practices had the objective of increasing the market power of the cooperatives and societies, frequently creating monopolies of in the provision of anesthesiology services. The increase in cost for SUS and supplementary health insurance, due to the anti-competitive conduct, tends to be transferred to the consumer in the form of higher prices for the acquisition of supplementary health insurance, or services restrictions and overload by SUS.

The case will be judged by CADE’s Tribunal.

New investigation – The evidence of the infringement in these and other similar cases led CADE’s General Superintendence to open an Administrative Proceeding against the Brazilian Federation of Anesthesiology Cooperatives (Febracan in its Portuguese acronym), the Brazilian Anesthesiology Society (SBA in its Portuguese acronym) as well as an ex-director of SBA. These entities represent the state anesthesiology cooperatives and societies on the national level.

The Administrative Proceeding aims at investigating the participation of the parties in the anticompetitive practices listed above. As for the opening of the proceeding (PA 08700.001830/2014-82), Febracan, SBA, and the ex-director will be notified to present their defense. The Superintendence will analyze the evidence produced and will issue an opinion to CADE’s Tribunal for the parties’ condemnation or absolution.