OFT Finds ‘No Grounds for Action’ In Veterinary Tests Case

Steven Bobson, Europe & Americas Editor
November 21, 2011 /

The OFT has found no grounds to take action against IDEXX Laboratories Limited (IDEXX) following an investigation into alleged abuses of a dominant position in the veterinary diagnostic testing sector.

The OFT opened its investigation in November 2010 after it received a complaint alleging that IDEXX was abusing a dominant position in the market for the supply of in-clinic pet testing equipment in order to foreclose competition.

The OFT opened the investigation under Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998 and/or Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which prohibit the abuse of a dominant position affecting trade within the UK/between Member States respectively.

The conduct assessed by the OFT includes alleged practices of providing discounts on diagnostic testing equipment to vets who agree to use IDEXX’s external laboratory services; providing free or heavily discounted IDEXX analysers to vets who agree to spend a minimum amount each month on materials to be used with those analysers, and offering discounted bundles of external laboratory tests which include a test that is only available from IDEXX.

Under Regulation 1/2003/EC the competition authorities of the Member States, in their application of Articles 101 and 102 of TFEU, may decide that there are no grounds for action on their part where on the basis of the information in their possession the conditions for prohibition are not met.

Under the Competition Act 1998 (OFT’s Rules) Order 2004 (SI 2004/2751), where the OFT has made a decision that there are no grounds for action in respect of conduct because the conditions of the Chapter II prohibition or the prohibition in Article 102 of TFEU are not met, the OFT may publish a decision in this respect.

Following careful assessment of the evidence currently at its disposal, the OFT has concluded that it has no grounds to take action against IDEXX.

The full reasoning for the OFT’s conclusion, including details of the methodologies used by the OFT to assess potential theories of harm relating to alleged mixed bundling (also known as multi-product rebates) and alleged predatory pricing in systems markets, is set out in the OFT’s decision.

 

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