SA Medical Association (SAMA), representing more than 7,000 doctors, slammed the three biggest hospital groups, Mediclinic, Life and Netcare, and medical aid administrator Discovery Health. The association claimed that they colluded in deciding which treatments would be available in hospitals, reports Business Day.
‘Private hospitals enforce the use of [only] these [selected] products and medical practitioners are obliged to use such products, irrespective of what is in the patient’s best interests,’ SAMA said in its submission to a Competition Commission inquiry into the cost of private healthcare.
‘These [collusive] negotiations have a direct impact on the quality received by patients and are [against] best clinical practice,’ SAMA said. This was ‘an abuse of market dominance held by the hospital groups and medical scheme administrators .’
Discovery Health CEO Jonathan Broomberg said his group did not stipulate which medicines could be used by hospitals but ‘negotiated various alternative payment arrangements with hospital groups, leaving it to hospitals to make decisions on medicines and products used’.
Mediclinic executive Roly Buys said doctors chose the medicines that patients needed and when medical aids did not cover their cost patients were told that they would have to pay for the medicines themselves. The law required that every patient be offered the generic version of a drug