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The Danish Competition Council recommends new regulation of specialist practitioners

30. januar 2015

The Danish Competition Council (DCC) recommends that the Minister for Health changes the regulation concerning specialist practitioners in order to improve competition between the specialists and shorter waiting lists for the patients. The minister is obliged to answer the DCC’s letter.

Chairman for the DCC, Professor Christian Schultz, states:

”It harms the patients, when the regulation of specialist practitioners – unlike other areas – allows the specialists’ trade association to coordinate and restrict the number treatments performed by their members. The consequence is higher prices and longer waiting lists for the patients”.

“We recommend that the Minister for Health, changes the regulation of specialist practitioners. Amongst other things the responsibility for the regions’ budget should be assigned to the regions and not to private companies or their trade association. This will secure a better treatment effort and a more effective use of resources.”

The DCC recommends that the Minister for Health designs the regulation of specialist practitioners in a way such that competition between the specialist practitioners is not unnecessarily restricted and such that the regulation contributes to a better use of resources.

Since spring 2012 the specialists’ trade association has sent out e-mails to all the specialist practitioners recommending the specialist practitioners to limit the number of treatments by for instance taking courses or taking time off. The purpose was to avoid a reduction in the specialists’ payments from the relevant public authority.

Last year the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority assessed that competition between the specialist practitioners was restricted because of the recommendations from the trade association.

According to the Competition Act the prohibition against anti-competitive agreements shall not apply where an anti-competitive practice is a direct or necessary consequence of public regulation. In December the Minister for Health decided that the trade association’s recommendations to its members were a direct and necessary consequence of health legislation. The decision prevented the DCC from intervening.

The Competition Act further provides that if the DCC finds a public regulation likely to restrict competition, the DCC may deliver a reasoned opinion to the relevant minister and to the Minister for Business and Growth, pointing out its potentially adverse effects on competition, and present recommendations for promoting competition in the area concerned. The DCC has therefore approached the Minister for Health in the matter.

The Minister for Health is obliged to answer the DCC’s letter within four months and publish the answer. Before doing so the minister must discuss the case with the Minster for Business and Growth.

For further information, please contact Communications Manager, Hanne Arentoft, T: +45 4171 5098.

Last updated: 30. januar 2015