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CCI dismisses unfair business practices complaint against DGAFMS, ECHS Khanpur, eight pharma traders

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Anant Pharmaceuticals, Saransh Biotech, Aarav Pharmaceuticals, Laxmi Pharma, M C Pharma, Maa Ambey Enterprises, Goyal Pharma and MD Medical Store are the eight traders against whom the case was dismissed

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed a case of alleged unfair business practices against Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS), ECHS Khanpur and eight wholesalers and traders of pharmaceutical products.

Anant Pharmaceuticals, Saransh Biotech, Aarav Pharmaceuticals, Laxmi Pharma, M C Pharma, Maa Ambey Enterprises, Goyal Pharma and MD Medical Store are the eight traders against whom the case was dismissed.

As per the order, ECHS (Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme) Khanpur had issued general public information in 2018 regarding registration and renewal of suppliers for the purposes of local purchase of medical supplies and surgical expendable and non-expendable medical supplies and equipment for financial year 2019-20.

Accordingly, 22 firms participated in the tender, out of which these eight traders qualified technical bids.

Informant Ved Prakash Tripathi alleged that the bidders who allegedly provided forged documents were selected, there was commonality of directors of technically-qualified bidders and there was increase in prices of medicines due to bid rigging.

It was alleged that five of these firms are held by members of one family, while three firms are owned by another family.

It was also alleged that the firms charged rates that are 1,000 times higher than the rates at which these medical supplies are available in other army hospitals in Delhi.

Regarding the allegation of forged documents, CCI said the informant is “at liberty to raise such issues before the appropriate forum and no directions can be issued by the Commission in this regard.”

For commonality of directors, CCI said mere commonality of directors or ownership of participating firms in itself is not sufficient to record any prima facie conclusion about bid rigging in the absence of any material indicating collusion amongst such bidders.

“Resultantly, the Commission is of the opinion that in the absence of any material on record which can suggest collusion amongst the bidders, no case of contravention of the provisions of … of the Act … is made out,” CCI said.

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