Notice of an investigation into alleged restrictive practices in the medical sector by CIMAS Medical Aid Society in Zimbabwe
IT is hereby notified in terms of section 28 of the Competition Act [Chapter 14:28] that the Competition and Tariff Commission (hereinafter called the “Commission”) has commenced an investigation into an alleged restrictive practice, as defined in terms of section 2 of the Act, by Cimas Medical Aid Society. Section 28 of the Act empowers the Commission to undertake an investigation into any restrictive practice which the Commission has reason to believe exists or may come into existence.
It is alleged that Cimas Medical Aid Society (“Cimas”) deregistered Family Medical Clinic from the New Health 263 direct payment system. It is further alleged that, apart from the deregistration of Family Medical Clinic from the New Health 263 direct payment system, Cimas is neither reimbursing its members nor honouring claims for treatment of its members at Family Medical Clinic. Deregistration of Family Medical Clinic from New Health 263 direct payment system resulted in Cimas members having to pay cash for treatment at Family Medical Clinic. The Commission established that Cimas is a medical aid society which also operates a clinic in Masvingo, Cimas Clinic. Cimas is alleged to be indirectly referring its members to its own facility, Cimas Clinic.
The Commission has preliminary concerns that the alleged practice may result in members’ choice of healthcare being limited to Cimas Clinic and other healthcare providers preferred by Cimas where their medical aid cards are accepted. The practice may also create barriers into entry and expansion of Family Medical Clinic and other deregistered healthcare providers who may not compete fairly with healthcare providers that are paid by Cimas in real time using the New Health 263 direct payment system. The alleged practice may prima facie constitute a restrictive practice as defined in terms of section 2 of the Act.
It should be noted that the commencement of an investigation neither pre-supposed that the conduct being investigated is anti-competitive not that Cimas has violated the provisions of the Act. The Commission will, in accordance with the provisions of section 28 of the Act conduct an investigation in the medical sector focusing on the provision of medical aid services to determine whether the alleged practices directly or indirectly restrict competition.
Any interested person may submit written representations to the Commission stating how they have been affected by the issues under investigation, not later than 14 days from the date of publication of this Notice. Emails may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com or hard copies submitted to the Director, Competition and Tariff Commission, 23 Broadlands Road, Emerald Hill, Harare, Zimbabwe.
Any further enquires or clarification on any aspect of the Commission’s investigation may be directed to Mr. T. Mawundike, on Tel (+263) 773385035 or (+263) 853127-32, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org