ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has issued show cause notices to eight medical institutions after its inquiry report found them indulging in deceptive marketing practices by claiming that they were registered with Pakistan Medical and Dental Council.
The anti-trust watchdog issued the notices after the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) named 22 private medical and dental colleges for their failure to meet its registration criteria for the year 2013-2014. The PMDC did not recognise these institutions as their affiliates and barred them from giving fresh admissions.
After the PMDC’s action, the CCP held an inquiry and found that eight of the 22 institutions to have misrepresented their recognition by PMDC through their websites. The CCP said these practices amount, prima facie, to the distribution of false and misleading information that is capable of harming the business interests of other institutions.
It added that the dissemination of false and misleading information to consumers, including the distribution of information lacking reasonable basis, related to the price, character, method or place of production, properties, suitability for use, or quality of goods was also harming the interests of others.
These eight medical institutions include Pak Red Crescent Medical & Dental College, Lahore, Mohiuddin Islamic Medical College, Mirpur, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ & K), Abbottabad International Medical College, Abbottabad, Independent Medical College, Faisalabad, Women Medical College, Abbottabad, Hashmat Medical and Dental College, Gujrat, Bhittai Medical and Dental College, Mirpurkhas Sindh, (BDS), AJ&K Medical College, Muzaffarabad , AJ& K. Through the show cause notices, these medical institutions have been asked to respond in writing within two weeks and to avail an opportunity of being heard before CCP on August 4, 2015.
Earlier, the CCP had imposed a total penalty of Rs450 million including Rs20 million on each of twenty (20) Gulf Corporation Council approved Medical Centres (GAMC) and Rs10 million on each of five GCC approved Medical Centres Administrative Office (GAMCA) for indulging in collusive activities in violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2010.
These institutions had been penalised on the complaint of Pakistan Overseas Employment Promoters Association (POEPA) wherein it was alleged that these institutions charged a uniform fee, dividing the market and equally allocating the intended emigrants among themselves for the pre-departure medical tests.
The pre-departure test is mandatory before proceeding to GCC states - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2015.
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