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Spain: CNMC penalizes Dental union over competition violations

 |  February 2, 2016

Spanish competition authorities have fined the General Council of Official Odontological and Stomatological Medicine Colleges, an industry union group, for adopting a series of agreements and recommendations which aimed at stopping patients from freely choosing from the full array of available dental prostheses (dentures), ensuring the selection would be left to dentists themselves. The colleges thereby restricted and interfered with the operation of the dentures market.

The General Council launched a 2010 campaign entitled ‘A denture is not a dentist’, which was directed at warning denture makers that “we were serious” and “capable of striking back”/ The campaign included negative publicity towards the use of dentures in mass media outlets. Spanish competition regulator CNMC determined that these actions were detrimental to patients, who may have been forced to pay higher prices for dentures and dental services.

The sanctions on the dentists’ colleges also extend to a series of guidelines which sought to establish rates for dentists, despite this being explicitly prohibited by law. The publication of ‘orientation’ guidelines was prohibited in order to push for greater competition between professionals, benefiting users. However, a study by the General Council has been determined to have been intended as a way to help its members coordinate their prices, in open violation of competition law.

Full content: CNMC

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