Regulated markets

An unusual form of competition takes place in regulated sectors. Past examples of this include the utility sectors, such as telecom, energy and water. In these sectors competition is combined with government regulation to protect the public interest. At present, a ‘regulated’ market exists in the healthcare sector. The Dutch Healthcare Authority (Nederlandse Zorgautoriteit (NZa)) is responsible for supervising the accessibility to and affordability of care. In addition, the Inspectorate for Health and Youth Care (Inspectie Gezondheidszorg en Jeugd (IGJ)) monitors the quality of care. Other forms of regulated markets exist in the foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, gambling and financial sectors.

A regulated market is characterised by strong government regulation, whereby regulation and enforcement are often placed in the hands of an especially established regulatory authority (e.g. the Dutch Healthcare Authority, Health Care Inspectorate, Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, Gambling Authority, Authority for Consumers and Markets, Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets, Dutch Data Protection Authority). These regulatory authorities oversee the correct implementation of Dutch and European laws and regulations. They are often the designated body for the granting of licenses where this is a prerequisite for market entry. Where applicable, they are also in the position to implement enforcement measures such as the imposition of a fine or encumbrance.

The Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) is a good example. The authority gives substance to its task by monitoring the behaviour of health care providers and health insurers on the curative and long-term care markets and oversees compliance with the law. The NZa sets the rules, budgets and tariffs for that part of the care that is regulated and sets the conditions for how the market will work, which can either be partially or totally liberalised. The NZa also maintains control over mergers within the healthcare sector through the ‘merger test’. The legal framework within which the NZa operates is determined by the Healthcare Market Regulation Act. In the department EU, Competition, Regulation & Procurement, care providers are advised on the complex application of regulated market forces in the healthcare sector.

The lawyers at Legaltree can advise you on compliance with Dutch and European laws and regulations on regulated markets. They can also help you obtain a license, or in meeting other conditions required by the government to enter the market. If necessary, they can assist in a legal dispute with the government (regulatory authorities) in connection with measures taken within the context of supervision and enforcement.