Competition Act, 1998
COVID-19 Block Exemption for the Healthcare Sector, 2020
Government Notice R349 of 2020
- Published in Government Gazette no. 43114 on 19 March 2020
- Commenced on 19 March 2020
- [This is the version of this document from 8 April 2020.]
- [Amended by COVID-19 Block Exemption for the Healthcare Sector, 2020: Amendment (Government Notice R456 of 2020) on 8 April 2020]
1. DefinitionIn these Regulations any word or expression to which a meaning has been assigned in the Act shall bear that meaning and, unless the context otherwise indicates –
2. PurposeThe purpose of these Regulations is to exempt a category of agreements or practices in the healthcare sector from the application of sections 4 and 5 of the Act in response to the declaration of COVID-19 pandemic as a national disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act, solely with the purpose of:
3. Category of agreements or practices exemptedThe Minister hereby exempts the following categories of agreements or practices in the healthcare sector from the application of sections 4 and 5 of the Act if undertaken at the request of, and in coordination with, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition or the Department of Health for the sole purpose of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the declared national disaster, subject to any conditions which may be stipulated by either department, and which exclude communication and agreements in respect of prices unless specifically authorised by the Minister or Minister of Health:[chapeau substituted by section 3(a) of Government Notice R456 of 2020]
4. Agreements to support the public healthcare sectorAgreements or practices between the private healthcare sector and the Department of Health with the sole purpose of:
5. Cost reduction measuresAt the request of the Department of Health and subject to oversight and guidance by the Department of Health, agreements or practices concluded between the private healthcare sector and the Department of Health with the sole purpose of reducing the cost of diagnosis, tests, treatment and other preventative measures including vaccines. For the avoidance of doubt, any discussion and/or agreement on pricing between private healthcare companies or providers must be specifically authorised by the Minister of Health.
6. Scope of the exemptionThe scope of these Regulations is limited only to agreements or practices specified under paragraphs 3, 4 and 5, and which have the sole purpose of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic national disaster as set out in paragraph 2.
Amendments to regulations
7.Given the unpredictability of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, the areas of collaboration exempted in these Regulations may be expanded or reduced by the Minister by notice published in the Government Gazette in terms of these regulations.
8.To the extent that the healthcare sector identifies additional agreements or practices outside the scope of paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 that are necessary to achieve the purpose of these Regulations, the health care sector may request the Minister to expand the scope of this exemption.
9. Record keepingHospitals and Healthcare facilities, medical suppliers, medical specialists and radiologists, pathologists and laboratories, pharmacies, manufacturers and suppliers of intermediate goods and services used in the production of medical and hygiene supplies and healthcare funders who participate in any agreements or practices falling within the scope of these exemption must keep minutes of meetings held and written records of such agreements or practices.[regulation 9 substituted by section 4 of Government Notice R456 of 2020]
10. Representation on regulationsRepresentations on these regulations.
11. Short titleThese Regulations shall be called the COVID-19 Block Exemption for the Healthcare Sector, 2020.
Commencement and duration
12.These Regulations shall come into effect on the date of publication in the Government Gazette.
13.These Regulations shall remain in operation for as long as the declaration of the COVID-19 in terms of the National Disaster Management Act as a national disaster subsists, or until they are withdrawn by the Minister whichever comes earlier.
History of this document
08 April 2020 this version
19 March 2020
Published in Government Gazette number 43114
Commences.Read this version