THE Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) has found Cimas Medical Aid Society guilty of engaging in restrictive business practices after it directed clients requiring specialised services to Harare Haemodialysis Centre (HHC), a company it has a controlling stake in.
Report by Mernat Mafirakurewa, Acting Business Editor
The medical aid society was also refusing to reimburse members who sought services from B Braun Avenues Dialysis Centre. In a notice published last Friday, CTC said following investigations it was established that:
“Cimas’ practices of refusing to honour claims for dialysis procedures from B Braun Avenues Centre and directing its members to get treatment from HHC, in which Cimas has a stake, constitute restrictive practices as defined in the Act.
“The restrictive practices being engaged in by Cimas are contrary to the public interest in terms of Section 32 of the Act in as far as they stifle competition, restrict consumers’ rights of choice, prevent reduction in costs of dialysis procedures and prevent the development of new techniques in dialysis procedures being brought in by the entry of B Braum in the provision of dialysis procedures market.”
In order to remedy the situation, CTC ordered Cimas to desist from directing its members for dialysis procedures to a specific service provider.
Cimas was also ordered to honour and reimburse all medical claims made by its members for dialysis procedures done at various centres other than Harare Haemodialysis Centre.
The company is also facing allegations of restrictive business practices in the provision of pathology services by requesting that its client’s members obtaining services from Lancett Laboratories should pay cash. The commission said this requirement was compelling its members to use Cimas Medical Laboratories where medical aid cards were accepted.
CTC also announced that it had begun fullscale investigations into restrictive business practices by Innscor Africa Limited through its vertical backward and forward linkages.
“It is hereby notified . . . that the Competition and Tariff Commission is embarking on an investigation in terms of Section 28 of the Act into allegations of restrictive practices in Innscor Africa Limited whereby Innscor Africa, inter alia, through its strong vertical backward and forward linkages in the production of and distribution of basic commodities in the downstream markets for its competitors and also potential entrants,” CTC said in a statement.
Last month CTC director Alexander Kububa told NewsDay that it was probing seven mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
Some of the M&As under probe, according to Kububa, include the proposed acquisition of Haggie Rand Zimbabwe by Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, the takeover of Tractive Power Holdings by Zimplow Limited and a proposed partnership between CBZ Bank and Standard Chartered Bank on sharing VISA point-of-sale.