On Thursday, South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it has decided to impose a combined penalty of 40.9 billion won (US$32.2 million) on 32 pharmaceutical companies for engaging in unfair practices in the government’s procurement bids.
The companies, which include a vaccine producer, distributors, and wholesalers, have been involved in collusive activities in 170 bids launched by the Public Procurement Service from 2013 to 2019. The investigation revealed that the firms had predetermined a winner by sharing their bid prices for vaccines such as influenza, hepatitis, and tuberculosis.
The FTC noted that Green Cross Corp., Boryung Biopharma, and SK Discovery Co. had been part of the bid-rigging despite receiving a punitive measure back in 2011. The regulator remarked that the action was significant as it showed the widespread bid-rigging in the local vaccine market involving all players.