In a statement released yesterday, the Competition Commission of Singapore (“CCS”) shared that it commenced an investigation on Cordlife Group Limited (“Cordlife”) in relation to its exclusive agreements with baby fair organisers and hospitals in June last year which CCS claims to potentially have the effect of limiting competition from other providers of cord blood bank services in Singapore.
It further went on to state that if these exclusive agreements were found to restrict competition in
the cord blood bank industry, Cordlife would have infringed section 47 prohibition of the Competition Act against the abuse of a dominant position.
Cordlife has since provided CCS with voluntary commitments to remove the existing exclusive arrangements that were the subject of the investigation, and to ensure that it does not have such exclusive arrangements with any baby fair or private maternity hospital in Singapore going forward.
Cordlife will also be required to provide CCS with confirmation that the affected baby fair organisers
and hospital have been informed of the change in Cordlife’s business practices.
Having reviewed the facts and circumstances of the case and on the basis of the commitments, CCS said that it has ceased this investigation on Cordlife’s exclusive arrangements with baby fair organisers and hospitals. However, it also said it would continue to monitor closely on market practices in the cord blood bank industry and reserves the right to reopen investigation should Cordlife breaches any of its commitments.
CCS noted that businesses that are unsure if they fully comply with the Competition Act should seek independent legal advice or consider applying for guidance or decision from CCS. 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. More information on the Competition Act as well as how to file a complaint or notification for guidance or decision can be found on the CCS website (www.ccs.gov.sg).