Private ophthalmology: investigation into anti-competitive information exchange and pricing agreements

The CMA investigated a suspected breach of competition law related to the private ophthalmology sector, under Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 of the TFEU.

Case Reference: CE/9784-13

Case timetable

Date Action
20 August 2015 Publication of non-confidential version of infringement decision
5 August 2015 Final infringement decision issued to party
14 July 2015 Statement of objections issued to party
10 July 2015 Party agrees to settle investigation with CMA
April 2015 Decision taken to continue with the investigation (further update by June 2015)
January to March 2015 Further evidence gathering analysis and review
9 December 2014 Decision to proceed to the next phase of the investigation in light of evidence received to date
October to December 2014 CMA analysis and review of evidence including parties’ responses to information requests and witness evidence
July to October 2014 Initial investigation: information gathering, receipt of responses to formal information requests and conducting witness interviews
July 2014 Investigation opened

Advice for private medical practitioners

3 December 2015: Advice for private medical practitioners on competition law compliance has been published by the CMA.

Non-confidential infringement decision

20 August 2015: The CMA has published a non-confidential version of the decision in this case.

Infringement decision

5 August 2015: The CMA has issued a decision finding that Consultant Eye Surgeons Partnership (CESP) Limited infringed competition law.

The CMA also imposed a fine on CESP Limited of £500,000, reduced to £382,500 following settlement and the adoption by CESP Limited of a comprehensive compliance programme.

Statement of objections

14 July 2015: The CMA issued a statement of objections to Consultant Eye Surgeons Partnership (CESP) Limited for its conduct in the privately funded ophthalmology sector.

Case information

  • This investigation is under Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

  • The CMA has not yet reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of competition law for it to issue a statement of objections to any of the parties under investigation. Not all cases result in the CMA issuing a statement of objections.

  • As a result, it would not be appropriate at present to include any further estimates of the timing of any later investigative steps at this stage.

  • If the CMA issues a statement of objections, it will provide the addressee(s) of that statement with an opportunity to make written and oral representations. More details are in the CMA’s procedures in Competition Act 98 cases.


Team Leader

Sue Aspinall (

Project Director

James MacBeth (

Senior Responsible Officer

Ann Pope (

Published 20 August 2015