Cord blood bank industry: Exclusive agreements trigger probe by competition watchdog

Cord blood bank industry: Exclusive agreements trigger probe by competition watchdog
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - A cord blood bank provider has agreed to remove exclusive agreements with baby fair organisers and hospitals that could potentially limit competition from other cord blood bank providers.

The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) said in a statement today (June 17) that Cordlife Group Limited had entered into exclusive agreements with baby fairs and private maternity hospitals, thus potentially abusing its dominant position and infringing the Competition Act.

An investigation was then launched in June 2014 into the alleged infringement.

These exclusive arrangements by Cordlife have since been removed voluntarily, CCS said. Cordlife will continue to provide CCS with confirmation that the affected baby fair organisers and hospital have been informed of the change in Cordlife's business practices.

CCS, which has since ceased investigations on Cordlife's exclusive arrangements, will, continue to closely monitor market practices in the cord blood bank industry, it said.

"Businesses that are unsure as to whether they fully comply with the Competition Act should seek independent legal advice or consider applying for guidance or decision from CCS," CCS added.

"In general, exclusive agreements by a dominant firm that harms competition may be illegal under the Competition Act. CCS encourages all businesses to proactively put in place competition compliance programmes to ensure their business conduct fully comply with the Competition Act."

grongloh@sph.com.sg

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