Competition law

The Competition Law department is a team of lawyers that specialises in national and European competition cases with a particular focus on the healthcare sector. In the Netherlands, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (Autoriteit Consument and Markt, ACM) monitors the competition rules. The ban on cartels is the most obvious, but mergers and acquisitions must take account of the ACM as well.

We can advise and guide you in the following areas:

  • Drawing up and assessing partnerships between care providers, such as agreements with respect to specialisation and care pathway.
  • notifying both the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) and the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) of mergers, acquisitions and the incorporation of joint ventures
  • consulting the ACM regarding (informal) opinions with respect to proposed collaboration
  • advice and assistance in the context of enforcement requests and investigations by the ACM and the European Commission
  • advising on and drawing up and implementing codes of conduct and compliance programmes
  • drawing up and reviewing commercial contracts, such as for distribution, agency, franchising, licence and purchasing agreements
  • conducting procedures in competition issues

By virtue of Competition law, companies must not enter into cartel agreements. Proposed collaboration between (potential) competitors must therefore almost always (also) be assessed against the competition law. This becomes all the more pressing as the market shares of the parties involved increase and (thereby) the potential effect of the agreements on the market increase. This situation almost always occurs in the healthcare sector. But the ban on cartels also comes into play with collaboration between non-competitors, for example, in the context of (selective) distribution systems and care pathway agreements between healthcare institutions.

In principle, collaboration agreements must be assessed against the ban on cartels. But if the proposed collaboration is structurally such that it constitutes a merger, acquisition or fully-fledged joint venture in the sense of the competition law, a duty of notification to the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (Autoriteit Consument en Markt, ACM) and the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) may arise.

Once a company has an economic power position, it bears an increased responsibility to not disrupt the market. The Competitive Trading Act prohibits them from abusing that position, which basically means that they must not exploit consumers or exclude (potential) competitors. In order to prevent care providers or insurers from abusing significant market power, the NZa is even authorised to take preventative measures (such as applying a contracting obligation or an obligation to supply).

Our knowledge is your knowledge

We are pleased to share our knowledge with our clients and we therefore regularly organise workshops in relation to competition law. At your request, we can organise a workshop completely tailored to your organization.

Main contacts

Specialists

Selma Ramele

Selma van Ramele
Lawyer - Partner

Tony Wijk

Tony van Wijk
Lawyer - partner

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