Tablets sit illuminated during the film-coating process in the laboratories at a manufacturing facility. (Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)  

Competition Commission Dismisses Complaint Against Cipla, Bengal Chemist Body

The Competition Commission of India has dismissed a complaint against pharmaceutical major Cipla Ltd. and the Bengal Chemist and Druggists Association over alleged non-supply of medicines.

While dismissing the complaint, the fair-trade regulator said the complainant “tried to give a commercial dispute between him and Cipla Ltd. a colour of competition issue”. The complaint was filed by West Bengal-based individual named Kalyan Chowdhary, who is a stockist of Cipla Ltd.

The complainant had alleged that despite placement of repeated orders, Cipla had stopped the supply of medicines at the behest of BCDA. Further, the druggist body was manipulating the prices of the medicines by controlling the demand and supply of the medicines, he claimed.

Moreover, the complainant alleged that in 2013, he had paid Rs 50,000 for obtaining no-objection certificate from BCDA and it is only after obtaining NOC that Cipla started supplying medicine to him.

By doing so, Cipla and BCDA contravened Section 3 and 4 of the Competition Act which pertains to anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position, respectively, the complainant said.

In an order, the CCI said Cipla did not stop supplying medicines to the complainant, rather it insisted for advance payment in view of earlier incidents of delayed payments.

Further, it is observed that the stockist-ship of the complainant is still existing with Cipla and the pharma company has undertaken to supply medicines to complainant on receipt of advance payment, CCI said.

Accordingly, the Commission said allegation of non-supply of medicines by Cipla at the behest of BCDA is “unsubstantiated”, CCI said in an order dated May 10.

Similarly, regarding alleged manipulation of medicine prices by BCDA, the regulator said the complainant “has neither elaborated on the issue nor corroborated the same”.

In absence of any evidence, CCI also dismissed the complainant’s allegation of mandatory requirement of NOC to be obtained from the druggist body to become stockist of Cipla.

After finding no contravention of the Competition Act by Cipla and BCDA, the fair trade regulator ordered the matter to be closed.

Bloomberg Quint

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