New health regulator with concurrent competition powers

On 14 December 2010, the Department of Health confirmed proposals to establish Monitor, an economic regulator with concurrent competition powers, in respect of health and adult social care services. Monitor is expected to have three main functions: promoting competition, setting or regulating prices and supporting the continuity of services. Monitor will also have concurrent competition enforcement powers under the Competition Act 1998 and the Enterprise Act 2002.

DotEcon welcomes the move to create an independent regulator with competition powers, in an important area such as healthcare. DotEcon recently considered competition issues in a related market, by preparing a report evaluating the impact of the OFT’s 2003 market study on the retail pharmacies market. The OFT had appointed DotEcon to assess the effects of the Government’s decision in 2005 to relax the ‘control of entry’ regulations in response to the study’s recommendations. DotEcon’s report reviewed the impact on access, prices, choice and quality of service in the market and the monetary impact on businesses and taxpayers. This is discussed earlier in this newsletter.

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