UOKiK's position on unauthorised sales practices of distributors of medical devices

7 August 2014 The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) issued a decision ordering Mat-Medic, a company selling paramedical products, to refrain from unauthorised market practices. The company sold its products during presentations to which potential customers were invited by telemarketers. Previously, the Office of Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices and Biocidal Products (URPL) withdrew from the market and use of the "biostimulator" produced by the henmed institute company, supplying Mat-Medic. The UOKiK, in its decision in the Mat-Medic case, considered the three sales practices to be in breach of the collective interests of consumers.

Firstly, it is not permitted to hide the commercial nature of the presentation of medical devices.1 The absence of information on the sales purposes of meetings may lead to difficulties in assessing the offer by customers, thereby making it impossible to make an informed decision as to whether it is worth using. Transparency of the purpose of the presentation is particularly important when the target audience of the products offered is the elderly. This was the case with Mat-Medic. They offered "biostimulators", designed to help treat many diseases. During phone calls with company employees, customers were invited to "free tests" or "free diagnostic meetings." In addition, the distributor of paramedical products was called a "diagnostic clinic", and telemarketers avoided the slogans "presentation", "show" or "sale".

Secondly, in the wording of the contracts, it is prohibited to indicate the inflated value of the products, which does not constitute their actual selling price, which suggests to consumers the existence of a specific price advantage.2 There must not be a situation in which customers are informed of a discount on the list price, whereas the product in question is never sold at a price without a discount. Mat-Medic sold its devices only during demonstrations. The guests invited to the presentations were informed about a special price drop, which occurred only in the case of the purchase of biostimulators during the show. It was not possible to buy products outside of shows, and their quoted list price was completely virtual and deliberately inflated to give customers the impression of obtaining more favourable buying conditions. The same practice was used by Vigget Sp. z o.o., which also offered medical devices to consumers during the organized demonstrations. In this respect, the UOKiK also issued a decision ordering the cessation of illegal practices.

Thirdly, it is forbidden to inform consumers taking part in shows that they participate in reimbursable medical research and have the possibility to benefit from a subsidy for the purchase of the goods offered, if in fact such benefits do not exist. Mat-Medic assured potential customers that the studies in which they participate and the products they can purchase are covered by refunds from the EU or nfz. This was not true..

It is worth noting that by the decision of the URPL of 1 April 2014, the Biostimulator BS-1, produced by the HenMed Sp. z o.o. Institute, was withdrawn from circulation and use. The HenMed Institute is a manufacturer of medical devices distributed by Mat-Medic. The president of both companies is one person. The companies work closely together. In its decision, URPL informs about the lack of scientific evidence that the product produced by the HenMed Institute, which is offered by Mat-Medic, is effective in the indications given in the instructions for use and promotional materials. The product has been withdrawn from circulation pursuant to Article 11(1) of Directive 91/414/ However, in the case of non-eri team, the commission may 1 of the Act of 20 May 2010 on medical devices and pursuant to Article 11(1) of the Law on Medical Devices. 108 § 1 of the Act of 14 June 1960. Code of Administrative Procedure.

Legal basis:

  1. OJ 2007.50.331 – Act of 16 February 2007 on the protection of competition and consumers
  2. OJ 2007.171.1206 – Act of 23 August 2007 on the prevention of unfair market practices
  3. Journal of Laws 2010.107.679 as amended. – Law of 20 May 2010 on medical devices
  4. OJ 2013 item. 267 – Notice of the Speaker of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland of 30 January 2013 on the publication of a single text of the Law – Code of Administrative Procedure

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