The Dutch Competition Authority (NMa) has found the refusal of a group of pharmacists in Breda to allow another pharmacist in Breda to participate in their computer network co-operation to be restrictive of competition and therefore in violation of article 6 of the Dutch Competition Act. The NMa held that, since the co-operation entails economic advantages for participating pharmacists over non-participating pharmacists, refusal to allow a third party access to the system would result in foreclosure. Therefore, any refusal to grant access to third parties was only allowed on the basis of objective and transparent criteria.
Following the NMa’s statement of objections (rapport), the pharmacists voluntarily adapted their admission rules. For that reason, the NMa decided that there was no reason to impose any fines on the pharmacists involved.
The NMa indicates that this decision underlines the NMa’s focus on the health care sector, where it is keen to make sure that the market functions properly as soon as it is opened up by the legislator. The NMa’s primary objective is to prevent foreclosure and enable new entries to the market.
Source: Press Release NMa, 15-11-2004 at