A Western Cape-based distributor of healthcare products has agreed to pay a penalty of R20 000 for allegedly colluding on a provincial Health Department tender that related to the supply of diagnostic sets to hospitals and health institutions under the Western Cape Department’s control, including diagnostic sets used by clinicians to examine patients’ eyes, ears, noses and throats, the Competition Tribunal said on October 18.
In terms of a consent agreement concluded between BMS Medical and the Competition Commission, the company also agrees to implement a competition law compliance programme. BMS Medical further undertakes to refrain from engaging in any anti-competitive conduct in contravention of the Competition Act in future.
The consent agreement has been confirmed as an order by the tribunal.
"Although BMS Medical has agreed to the terms of the consent agreement, it does not admit that it contravened the Act, as alleged by the commission.
"The Commission has agreed to enter into the consent agreement with BMS Medical without an admission of liability because it is a small firm, the tender was small - estimated at R1-million over three years, which the company did not win - and the company was a first-time offender."
In September 2019, the commission received a complaint from the Department of Health Western Cape. It had alleged that two companies had colluded when tendering for the supply of diagnostic sets. There were similarities in the tender documents, which led the department to believe the companies had colluded with each other.