Medical technology companies will be allowed to work together to coordinate the supply and potential manufacture in Australia of personal protective equipment (PPE) ventilators, testing kits, and other medical equipment needed to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted interim authorisation to the Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA) to allow members and other groups, such as suppliers or distributors of medical equipment, to share information between each other, co-ordinate orders and supply requests, prioritise requests, and jointly tender to supply COVID-19 medical equipment.
It will ensure that potential supply shortages can be addressed more quickly and allows them to keep Federal, State and Territory Governments and relevant health agencies up to date on supply issues.
“Our decision will help companies urgently address potential shortages or other constraints on the supply of crucial medical equipment,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said. “This supports government efforts to ensure governments and health services are able to provide a coordinated response to the pandemic.” Medical technology companies will now be able to roll out a coordinated plan for supplies of medical equipment nation-wide, which is likely to be crucial in assisting Australia’s response to COVID-19, Sims said.
The ACCC is seeking feedback on interim authorisation, as well as the application for final authorisation for a period of 12 months.
ACCC authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment and also review a decision on interim authorisation at any time, including in response to feedback raised following interim authorisation.