On December 8th it was reported that the National Development and Reform Council (NDRC) issued an antitrust penalty against Medtronic, a world-famous medical equipment manufacturer. Medtronic (Shanghai) Management Co., Ltd was assessed a penalty of 118 million RMB for its limitation on resale prices, amounting to about 4% of its 2015 sales volume of the product involved. Recent years have seen an increasing number of antitrust actions in the medical industry. At the beginning of the year, a horizontal monopoly agreement involving allopurinol tablets, a pharmaceutical, was investigated and sanctioned. Mid-2016 saw the issuance of a penalty in a monopoly case involving Estazolam raw materials and tablets. This case was China’s first antitrust case involving medical equipment. The NDRC Antitrust Division notes that medicine is of vital importance to people’s livelihoods, and that illegal monopolies render market mechanisms useless and price competition insufficient, since every dime added to costs is likely to be passed on to the consumer. Antitrust investigations in the medical industry are expected to be strengthened.
Via the NDRC