Italian Competition Authority Fines Suppliers of Magnetic Resonance Equipment €5.5 Million
On 5 August 2011, the Italian Competition Authority levied fines totalling €5,538,750 on Alliance Medical S.r.l., Toshiba Medical Systems Italia S.r.l., Philips S.p.A. and Siemens S.p.A. Each firm produces and sells electro-medical equipment used for diagnostic imaging and together they represent approximately 68 per cent of Italian sales.
The inquiry process started when Ge Medical Systems Italia S.p.A. lodged a complaint against the companies, alleging that they agreed to coordinate their response to the tender that Società Regionale Sanità of Campania issued for the provision (purchase and rental) of seven magnetic resonance machines and related support services. Under the infringing joint tender agreement, each company was allocated a pro-rata share of the business.
According to the Italian Competition Authority, the exchange of sensitive information and the formation of an agreement altered the normal competitive dynamics among businesses involved in the tender. Their commercial strategies were no longer independent as they were based on knowledge of the other companies’ strategies: Siemens and Alliance entered into a temporary association for the direct provision of three machines for purchase, while Philips and Toshiba were sub-contracted by Alliance to provide the remaining four machines for rental.
Laure Carapezzi, trainee lawyer in McDermott Will & Emery based in the Rome office, also contributed to this newsletter.