Jan 13, 2023

CCI Dismisses Allegations Against Punjab Medical Council and Omnicuris Healthcare Pvt. Ltd.

On October 11, 2022, the CCI dismissed complaint filed by Medicos Legal Action Group Trust (‘Informant’) alleging violations of Section 3 and Section 4 of the Competition Act, against Punjab Medical Council (‘PMC’) and Omnicuris Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. (‘OHPL’).[1]

The Informant is a non-profit trust who wished to legally engage the Government of India regarding its various policies concerning the medical profession, training, working conditions, etc. PMC is a state authority that registers medical practitioners in the State of Punjab. Registered medical practitioners in Punjab were required to renew their registration periodically, and they had to attend a lecture series of 50 credit hours to be eligible for renewal of registration.

The Informant alleged that PMC issued guidelines approving only Omnicuris digital platform of OHPL for conducting of this lecture series, debarring all other online platforms, and that the agreement between OHPL and PMC restricts conducting online lecture series to the Omnicuris platform only – in contravention of Section 3 of the Act. Doctors attending lectures on other platforms were denied credit hours. The Informant also alleged violation of Section 4 of the Act as the Informant alleged that PMC is a dominant player in Punjab and has directly or indirectly imposed unfair and discriminatory conditions in purchase of service of credit hours for online lectures, thus denying market access and foreclosing competition.

PMC countered that it does not have the power to exclude accredited lecture series providers from conducting programmes. PMC launched this programme during COVID-19 pandemic since it was difficult to conduct them physically. Moreover, the MoU between PMC and Omnicuris was only for ensuring standardised knowledge dispensation. The MoU also does not bar other accredited lecture series providers from developing and publishing their content online. It was also argued by PMC that it discharges functions that are regulatory in nature with respect to the medical profession and thus it cannot be termed as enterprise within the meaning of Section 2(h) of the Competition Act.

The CCI recognised the regulatory nature of PMC, however, it rejected PMC’s argument of not being an enterprise as it carried out an economic activity of accreditation of various bodies for conducting medical education conferences/workshops on payment of fee. The CCI pointed out that PMC is ready to enter into an MoU with accredited lecture series providers/platforms, if the candidate is sufficiently qualified and competent to conduct such programmes, and there was no evidence pointing otherwise. It was within the jurisdiction of PMC to prescribe standards and guidelines for maintaining quality of medical education and practice. Thus, no case of contravention of the Competition Act was made out and the CCI dismissed the allegations against PMC and OHPL.


[1] Case No. 19 of 2022.




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