Archives: Healthcare Antitrust

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DOJ, FTC Issue Antitrust Guidance to Human Resources Professionals

On October 20, 2016, the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued joint Antitrust Guidance to Human Resource (HR) Professionals (the Guidance) involved in hiring and compensation decisions. The agencies issued the guidance to educate HR professionals about how the antitrust laws apply in the employment context.  Read … Continue Reading

FTC’s Largest Pharmaceutical Divestiture Gives Insight into Broader Theories of Harm

In pharmaceutical transactions involving generic products, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has typically focused on narrow antitrust theories of harm and applied a narrow product market analysis often limited to a treatment for a particular indication (and sometimes to a specific mechanism of action). In these transactions, the FTC has consistently required fixes for generic … Continue Reading

Antitrust Enforcement under a Clinton Administration: Status Quo or Significant Change?

On Monday, October 3, 2016, Hillary Clinton issued a statement on her website titled “Hillary Clinton’s Vision for an Economy Where our Businesses, our Workers, and Our Consumers Grow and Prosper Together.” Prior to this statement, there had been some speculation over what a Clinton presidency might bring in terms of antitrust enforcement. Unlike President … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Blocks Hospital Merger in Key Victory for FTC on Geographic Market Definition

On September 27, 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit handed an important victory to the Federal Trade Commission and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in a closely watched hospital merger case. The decision provides clear guidance on the appropriate tests for determining geographic markets in hospital merger cases, while also suggesting that … Continue Reading

Breaking The Health Company Compliance Program Monopoly

The ultimate effectiveness of the corporate compliance program depends on its ability to mitigate risks arising from all substantive laws materially affecting the company — not only the most visible or notorious ones. Yet, both experience and impression suggest that many health company compliance programs are primarily focused on addressing concerns arising from the anti-fraud … Continue Reading

FTC Encourages VA to Adopt Proposed Rule Preempting State Laws to Allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to Provide Services Without Physician Oversight

On July 25, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) submitted comments to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) supporting a proposed rule only affecting VA facilities that would authorize Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to provide primary health care services without the mandatory supervision of physicians, regardless of state or local laws, with limited exceptions. … Continue Reading

District Court Blocks FTC and PA AG Challenge to Hershey-Pinnacle Merger

On May 9, 2016, the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania denied the motion by the Federal Trade Commission and Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the merger of Penn State Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth System. The decision ends a string of victories by the FTC … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit: “Single-Network” Hospitals Not Exempt from Section One Scrutiny

On March 22, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit allowed a claim to proceed under § 1 of the Sherman Act against four hospitals acting as a single network under a joint operating agreement.  Med. Center at Elizabeth Place, LLC v. Atrium Health Sys., No. 14-4166 (6th Cir. Mar. 22, 2016).  … Continue Reading

FTC and Pennsylvania Attorney General Challenge Health System Combination

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Pennsylvania Attorney General (AG) have challenged the proposed combination of The Penn State Hershey Medical Center (Hershey) and PinnacleHealth System (Pinnacle) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The FTC complaint alleges that the combination would create a dominant provider, reduce the number of competing health systems in the area from three to … Continue Reading

LegalZoom and the North Carolina Bar Settle Antitrust Dispute

In the latest development from a number of antitrust lawsuits filed against state regulatory boards, Inc. signed a consent agreement with the North Carolina State Bar (State Bar) to settle a $10.5 million lawsuit.  LegalZoom had alleged multiple violations of federal antitrust laws, including a Section 1 claim that the State Bar had collectively … Continue Reading

FTC Comments Discourage Legislation Purporting to Grant Antitrust Immunity for Health Care Providers

In late September, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) submitted comments to the Virginia and Tennessee Departments of Health regarding each state’s proposed rules concerning hospital cooperation agreements. These proposed rules permit two or more hospitals to consolidate by merger or other combination of assets if, in the departments of health’s view, the benefits of the … Continue Reading

FTC Comment: Minnesota Law Requiring Public Disclosure of Health Care Contract Data Increases Risk of Anticompetitive Behavior

On June 29, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) responded to a request for comment from two Minnesota state legislators concerning recently enacted amendments to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA). Under the amendments, the MGDPA would be expanded to cover all data collected by health maintenance organizations, health plans, and other health services … Continue Reading

Top Antitrust Enforcers Respond to Congressional Questioning

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Assistant Attorney General William Baer testified before the House Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law on May 15, 2015. The oversight hearing provided an opportunity for the heads of the U.S. antitrust enforcement agencies to survey their agencies’ priorities and recent … Continue Reading

ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting Highlight: “Antitrust & Health Care: Square Peg in a Round Hole?”

In this month’s American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Antitrust Law Spring Meeting, the program “Antitrust & Health Care: Square Peg in a Round Hole?” featured debate and discussion about antitrust law treatment of health care transactions and how that treatment might (or should) evolve (via regulation, legislation, or some combination of approaches), or conversely, … Continue Reading

FTC Clarifies “Failing Firm” Defense

Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published an article that offers guidance on the “failing firm” or “flailing firm” defense often invoked in the hospital merger context.  The article, written by Debbie Feinstein and Alexis Gilman of the Bureau of Competition, clarifies the circumstances under which this defense is and is not available. … Continue Reading

FTC and DOJ Host Workshop Examining Health Care Competition

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) held a public workshop on February 24–25, 2015, to examine recent trends and developments in health care provider organization and payment models, and their potential effects on competition in the provision of health care services. A main message from … Continue Reading

Supreme Court: State Agencies Controlled by Active Market Participants Must Have Active State Supervision to Qualify for Antitrust Immunity

The Supreme Court of the United States’ recent ruling in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission held that in order for a state agency controlled by active market participants to receive federal antitrust immunity under the state-action doctrine, that agency must be actively supervised by the state. State licensing boards … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Affirms Divestiture of Consummated Physician Practice Acquisition

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed an Idaho federal district court’s decision ordering the divestiture of a physician practice group that had been acquired by a competing health system. The case, which pitted the health system against private plaintiffs as well as the Federal Trade Commission and the state attorney general, … Continue Reading

Out-of-Market Divestiture Required to Resolve Competitive Concerns

On January 30, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement of its investigation into Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.’s (Sun) acquisition of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. (Ranbaxy) from Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.  Sun and Ranbaxy are both multinational pharmaceutical companies that produce a range of generic and branded drugs. In its complaint, the FTC alleges … Continue Reading

Second Circuit To Hear Expedited Appeal in “Product Hopping” Suit

On January 6, 2015, the Second Circuit granted defendants’ motion for an expedited appeal but denied their motion for a stay in New York v. Actavis PLC, 14-4624 (2d Cir. Jan. 6, 2015).  Defendants are manufacturers of Namenda, a brand name pharmaceutical prescribed to patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease.  New York Attorney General … Continue Reading

Sham-Wow! Antitrust Liability May Attach to Sham Administrative Petitions

Addressing whether the “sham” exception to Noerr-Pennington immunity is limited to sham litigation in courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated a lower court’s summary judgment of no antitrust liability, finding that antitrust liability can attach to sham administrative petitions and that the sham litigation exception is not limited to court … Continue Reading

New York Proposes Revised Regulations for Health Care Collaborations

Today, New York health regulators proposed revised rules that would allow health care providers to merge or cooperate with one another without being subject to federal or state antitrust scrutiny. The state’s Department of Health proposed regulations establishing a process for entities to obtain a Certificate of Public Advantage (COPA) pursuant to Public Health Law … Continue Reading

Physicians Write Letter to FDA Regarding Biosimilar Naming Concerns

On Thursday, August 14, 2014, several physicians wrote a letter to Commissioner Hamburg of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expressing their concerns regarding the naming of biosimilar products in light of the implementation of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA). Unlike traditional small-molecule prescription drugs, most biologics are complex and are … Continue Reading