As damage control strategy, DIARCOR has opted to cooperate with ACCC in the latter’ s investigations into the price-fixing charges. Thus, there is a chance that ACCC may display some leniency in fixing their proposal on the penalty to be submitted to the court. The potential liability under ss 82 of the TPA alone could extend up to $3 million. Nonetheless, investigations by ACCC are on. It is not possible to estimate the approximate figures of the potential liability until the gist of the investigation is made available. Much depends on the intent.
If ACCC’ s investigations conclude that dishonesty is the intent, it could spell deep trouble for DIARCOR. At a rough estimate, the figure could even go up to $10 million each, if one were to go by the size of the cartel and the five years’ turnover of their businesses when the companies indulged in price fixing. The Pharmacists Association of Australia is a huge conglomerate and it can turn back on its exploiters and wreak misery upon finding how it has been made fool of all these years. Also, DIARCOR’ s cooperation may not be enough to significantly mitigate its woes should ACCC’ s investigations reveal rampant and excessive resort to price fixing spree by these three giant corporations.
The competition suffered for five years at the hands of these three oligopolists and they won’ t mind going for some blood along with the pound of flesh. There are hard days ahead for DIARCOR and its surreptitious allies. However, all is not lost for DIARCOR. It is difficult to conclusively prove price-fixing charges, and unless DAIRCOR Pty Ltd, DISY Pty Ltd, and CALENDEX Pty Ltd, have been following a clear pattern of tomfoolery which exposes the degree of their complicity beyond doubt, they can hope for some relief commensurate with the level of magnanimity they allowed the competition in their heydays. Also, the testing times will reveal DIARCOR’ s reserves and acumen in terms of technology, adaptability, and resilience.
Fortune favors the brave! ACCC investigations will reveal the extent of the breach of any State legislation or common law by DIARCOR. It is difficult to accept that the firm survived only on business gained from doctored prices.
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