You are on page 1of 1

□ FTC Initiates Investigation into Medical Clinics Within the Jurisdiction of

Taoyuan County for Jointly Increasing their Registration Fee in Violation of


Article 14 of the Fair Trade Law【June 2, 2005】

During its 708th Commissioners’ Meeting held on June 2, 2005, the FTC passed a
resolution on the case involving medical clinics under the jurisdiction of Taoyuan
County, which violated Article 12, paragraph 1 of the Fair Trade Law by jointly
increasing their registration fee.
The FTC initiated an investigation after the media reported on Nov. 14, 2004 that
676 medical clinics in Taoyuan County had jointly increased their registration fee.
Investigations showed that some members of the Taoyuan County Medical
Association had requested an increase in the registration fee, and the Association
wrote to its members on Oct. 13, 2004 in order to solicit opinions and compile
feedback from them. The Association later decided to increase the NT$50 registration
fee to NT$100 starting Nov. 15, 2004, while medical clinics in Chungli increased their
registration fee starting Nov. 5, 2004. The Association further provided a “Notice of
Increase in Registration Fee” to promote the increase in the said fee in all medical
clinics. Therefore, the Association prevented medical clinics from freely determining
the amount of their registration fee and caused the registration fees to become
identical; this reducing the choices available to the public and weakening market
competition. The action was sufficient to affect the supply of western medical services
in Taoyuan County.
Although the Taoyuan County Medical Association claimed that it only
recommended that its members increase the fee and did not force compliance, the Fair
Trade Law provisions on concerted action include, in addition to contracts or
agreements, other forms of mutual understanding such as a meeting of minds that
would in effect lead to joint action.
The Taoyuan County Medical Association took the initiative to write to its members
to solicit their opinions, decided the timing and amount of the increase in the
registration fee, sent a notice on the increase in the registration fee, wrote to the
medical clinics recommending an increase in the registration fee from NT$50 to
NT$100, and actively promoted the joint increase in the registration fee by medical
clinics. Such actions restrained the business activity and freedom of its members and
limited free market competition, and were sufficient to affect the supply of western
medical services in Taoyuan County. The actions fit the concerted action defined
under Article 7 of the Fair Trade Law, and violated Article 14, paragraph 1 of the
same law. The FTC thus imposed a fine of NT$3 million, and ordered the Association
to stop such violation.