Prevention is better than cure

What health professionals need to know
about competition and consumer law

This section asks about your knowledge of current competition and consumer law that applies to the health sector.

Health professionals in New Zealand are subject to the same competition and consumer laws that apply to other businesses and individuals. These laws include the Commerce Act 1986, the Fair Trading Act 1986 and the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003, all of which the Commerce Commission is responsible for enforcing.

The Commerce Commission enforces the Commerce Act, which promotes competition in markets in New Zealand for the long-term benefit of consumers. It does this by prohibiting anti-competitive behaviour, such as agreements between competitors to fix prices. It also prohibits mergers and acquisitions that substantially lessen competition, and provides for regulation in markets where there is little or no competition.

The Fair Trading Act protects consumers and makes competition more effective. It prohibits false and misleading behaviour by businesses. It also specifies when consumers must be given information about certain products and promotes product safety.

The Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act requires lenders to disclose certain information to consumers when they enter into consumer credit contracts and sets out the rules about interest, payments and fees. It will be relevant to those health professionals who offer deferred payment options to patients.

The following 13 questions ask you to evaluate a scenario, and decide whether or not it is likely to be legal under competition and consumer law. You can choose, yes, no, or not sure.