Monopolistic behavior in prepaid medical They call for investigation into possible “cartelization” of companies to agree on increases

The Civic Coalition presented a complaint to the National Commission to Protect Competition for “possible cartelization conduct” in the market of prepaid pharmaceutical services by the companies that make up the Argentine Health Union (UAS), led by Claudio Bellocopite, in order to raise prices. For users and suppliers.

As soon as the quota regulation came into effect, prepaid drug companies uniformly implemented a 40 percent increase, as the head of the UAS estimated in those days. Belokopit, owner and chairman of Swiss Medical business entity, later said he was in favor of implementing a 30% adjustment in February and a 10% adjustment in March. Cumulatively, this would represent 100 percent growth in three months.

On the other hand, a new judicial decision of necessity and urgency was announced against the application of the increase in prepaid fees covered by Order 70/2023, which regulates the pricing regime in that market. As in the previous case, the precautionary measure applies only to the injured user who made the complaint, in this case a user of the provider Omint SA whose 4-year-old son “undertakes several treatments through the defendant in connection with his disability.” Due to the diagnosis of Down syndrome. The remedy, if “the price increases are consolidated, will make it difficult for Omint to continue providing services.”

As in the case known a few hours ago against the Italian Benevolent Society, the judge taking precautionary measures against Ominte is Martina Isabel Fornes, in charge of the Federal Civil and Commercial Court of San Martín and Federal Administrative Litigation No. 1. In both cases, it ordered the companies to readjust the quotas in line with their aid scheme, “leaving without effect the increases made in application DNU 70/23 of the National Executive Branch”, with the increases applied in both cases. Considering that, while limiting the possibilities of users seeking to continue the service, the most basic rights of those affected were violated: the right to health and life.

That is why the magistrate ruled, in the case of both a 78-year-old retired man associated with Italian society and a father of a family associated with Ominte, as a precautionary measure and for the special benefit of the injured. The complainant, until a concrete solution is reached regarding his request for the unconstitutionality of the decree with respect to health services.

Regarding the complaint of “alleged cartelization” submitted by the Civic Coalition, it is noted that the facts constitute an “anti-competitive practice provided for in subsection A of Article 2 of Law 27,422 on the Defense of Competition”. The complaining political group alleged that the main companies providing the aforementioned service had participated in this “conduct and, according to statements of their directors, they concentrate in Argentina more than half of the total users of the entire prepaid medication market. ” ,

The complainants attached “as evidence” circulars from Swiss Medical, Medif, German hospitals, British hospitals, Galen, Omint and – they said – “through the media it became known that the same thing happens with OSDE.”

In this sense, he requested that “the behavior of the UAS be analyzed and whether its rules or practices comply with the CNDC standards regarding this type of business cells.”

They also attached “journalistic notes presumably from one of the people involved saying: that there were meetings to coordinate the setting of increases for users; an estimated increase of about 40% was set for users;” They presumably agreed upon contractual policies with their suppliers in the provision of service; And they estimate that agreed pricing policies could impact an average of 30% of service users’ losses.”

In this regard, Claudio Boada, director of the Union of Users and Consumers, told Pagina 12 that “companies know that for many it is impossible to maintain these prices and Belokopit believes that they do not mind losing 30 percent of their followers. No, because it’s about individual associates. The ones who want to retain are the corporate associates who have agreements with companies or with social causes where they get other compensation that individual associates don’t have. As usual: they want to keep the cream of the business.”

“They are leading to the elimination and disappearance of individual members through the absorption of social functions. We are receiving countless consultations similar to the cases giving rise to Dr. Fornes’ precautionary measures. There are many retired people who are 300 Earn a thousand pesos and they have a prepaid plan that with the increase will reach 150 to 180 thousand pesos, it is unsustainable to have a prepaid plan that consumes more than half of your income,” Boada said.

(TagstoTranslate)Economy(T)Prepaid medicine(T)Access to health(T)Rates(T)DNU 70(T)Claudio Bellocopit

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