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Max group hospitals challenge CCI probe report

Six Delhi based Max group hospitals have filed a plea before the Delhi High Court challenging CCI proceedings against them for allegedly charging excessive/unfair prices by abusing their dominant position.

The six hospitals that have approached the Delhi High Court are Max Super Speciality Hospital, Patparganj; Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket; Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh; Dr BL Kapur – Max Super Speciality Hospital, Pusa Road; Max Multispeciality Centre, Panchsheel Park and Max Multi Speciality Centre, Pitampura.

They moved the Court days before the competition watchdog was to take up final hearings on the investigation report submitted by the Director General (Investigations) against 12 hospitals, sources close to the development said.

In 2015, an information was filed against Max Hospital, Patparganj alleging charging of excessive/ unfair prices by abusing dominant position. CCI ordered investigation based on the information and the investigation arm of CCI (Office of the Director General/ DG) submitted a report in 2017 finding Max Hospital abusing its dominant position by charging excessive prices with respect to syringes.

CCI, in 2018, decided to broaden the scope of investigation in the matter, with a view to prevent anti-competitive practices taking place in the tertiary healthcare sector. While broadening the scope of investigation, CCI noted that huge profit margins are being earned by sale of products to the in-patients.

The then CCI decided to widen the scope of investigation to cover the practices of super specialty hospitals across Delhi in respect of healthcare products and services.

It was ordered that investigation will focus on the products sold by the super specialty hospitals to their in-patients which are not required on an urgent basis for any medical procedure / intervention or which do not involve any high degree of quality issue from the medical procedure point of view and for the purchase of which the patients have the time and scope to exercise their rational choice to purchase such products from open market where such products may be available at lower rates.

As a result, the DG submitted its Report to CCI recently against 12 Hospitals whereupon notices were issued to them by CCI calling upon their replies on the investigation report. However, before the matter could be taken up by CCI for final hearing, Max Hospitals approached Delhi High Court challenging the probe by CCI alleging they have not been provided the confidential documents and not given sufficient time to respond to the investigation report. The writ petition is likely to be heard next week before Delhi High Court, sources added. The Hindu BusinessLine

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