CCI Dismisses Complaint Against Director General Armed Forces Medical Services

On May 6, 2020, the CCI dismissed complaint alleging the existence of anti-competitive bid-rigging in contravention of Section 3(3)(d) of the Act against Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (‘OP1’), ECHS Khanpur (‘OP2’), Anant Pharmaceuticals (‘OP3), Saransh Biotech Private Limited (‘OP4’), Aarav Pharmaceuticals (‘OP5’), Laxmi Pharma (‘OP6’), M C Pharma (‘OP7’), Maa Ambey Enterprises (‘OP8’), Goyal Pharma (‘OP9’), and MD Medical Store (‘OP10’), filed by Ved Prakash Tripathi (‘Informant’). OP1 was responsible to the Ministry of Defence for the overall medical policy related to the Armed Forces. OP3 to OP10 were wholesalers of pharmaceutical products[1].

As per the Informant, OP2 had invited applications from suppliers for supply of generic and branded medical supplies to medical stores. The enterprises applying for supply of the medical equipment had to meet certain criteria, and submit a list of documents for registration. The Informant made three fold allegations: (i) the selection of bidder who allegedly provided forged documents, (ii) the commonality of directors of technically qualified bidders and (iii) increase in prices of medicines due to bid rigging.

The CCI noted that any issue relating to submission of forged documents as part of the application process could be taken up by the Informant before the appropriate forum. Further, the CCI noted that having common ownership, linkages, and being located in the same area could not in themselves be evidence of any collusive behaviour, in the absence of any material evidence indicating collusion. Lastly, there was no material on record which could suggest collusion amongst the bidders. Accordingly, the CCI opined that no case of bid-rigging in contravention of Section 3(3)(d) of the Act was made against the OPs and dismissed the complaint.

[1] Ved Prakash Tripathi v. Director General Armed Forces Medical Services & Ors., Case No. 10 of 2020, order delivered on 6 May 2020.

Published In:Inter Alia Special Edition - Competition Law - June 2020 [ English
Date: June 10, 2020