Companies To Coordinate Supply And Local Manufacture Of Medical Equipment
In order to ensure the supply of ventilators, testing kits, personal protective equipment and other medical equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACCC granted interim authorisation for medical technology companies to work together.
Members of the Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA) and other groups – including suppliers or distributors of medical equipment – will be able to share information, coordinate orders and supply requests, prioritise requests and jointly tender to supply COVID-19 medical equipment.
Under normal circumstances such activity would raise concerns about the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. In the current climate, however, such measures have been deemed necessary, particularly as panic-buying has started to hit medical supplies.
The MTAA’s application to the ACCC stated: “As COVID-19 increasingly impacts on Australia’s health system and global supply chains, and with the majority of medical equipment imported into Australia, it is expected that the ongoing supply of all medical equipment will be severely constrained.”
“Our decision will help companies urgently address potential shortages or other constraints on the supply of crucial medical equipment,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said. “This supports government efforts to ensure governments and health services are able to provide a coordinated response to the pandemic.”