Unfair practices in pharma sector under CCI scanner
New Delhi: Emphasising that pricing aspects of pharmaceuticals are critical for the general public, CCI Chairman Ashok Chawla has said that some cases of probe into alleged unfair practices in this space are in the "pipeline".
Competition Commission of India (CCI) has already slapped penalties on some entities, including chemists and druggists associations, for indulging in unfair trade practices.
"There are a number of cases, which have been dealt with. There are some (more) cases in the pipeline," CCI Chairman Ashok Chawla told the agency in an interview.
According to him, the Commission has already looked into many cases on the pharmaceutical retail side, while penalties have also been imposed on entities for adopting restrictive practices and not allowing others to enter the trade.
"That is an important area from our point of view because pharmaceutical retail and prices at the consumer end impact a very large number of the population.
"That is something which is critical from both the competition law point of view and also the socio-political point of view," Chawla said.
On healthcare sector, the Commission is looking at possible anti-competitive practices with regard to hospitals asking patients to take the services of a particular entity.
However, the CCI chief noted that pricing of services in the healthcare would not exactly fall under its purview.
"When there is tying in of supply of services, there are some cases we are looking at...," he said.
Without providing specific details, Chawla said that one case is at an advanced stage where the allegation is that of insisting on going to a certain supplier of services by a hospital.
"... Otherwise whether the charges are high or low, it is not really for us to see.
"We don't interfere in fixing of prices and the actual movements in the market place. That is not our job," he noted.
CCI ensures fair trade practices across sectors in the market place.