Federal and State Antitrust Enforcers Reiterate Focus on Healthcare

Federal and state antitrust enforcers are keenly focused on potential anticompetitive conduct in the healthcare space.

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Kahn recently noted that “the FTC is squarely focused on tackling illegal business practices that deprive Americans of access to affordable and innovative healthcare” in a speech to the American Medical Association’s national advocacy conference.  According to Chair Kahn, medical professional consistently express frustration to the FTC “about how the business of healthcare today forces many [medical providers] to subordinate [their] own medical judgment to corporate decision-makers at the expense of patient health.” In response to those complaints, Chair Khan highlighted a few recent enforcement efforts, including scrutiny of group purchasing organizations, drug wholesalers, and pharmacy benefit managers; tackling unlawful consolidation in healthcare markets and roll-ups of healthcare providers. She also touted the FTC’s work protecting healthcare workers, tackling unlawful practices by pharmaceutical companies, including suits to block two major pharmaceutical mergers, and protecting patient privacy and data.

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Preserve Materials During Pendency of Antitrust Investigation, FTC Says

Companies and individuals must be aware of their legal obligations to preserve communications when involved in government investigations or litigation, especially in light of new preservation standards from the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice. Due to concerns with the increased use of collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and ephemeral messaging applications like Signal, the agencies are updating the language they include in standard preservation letters and requests for information, including second requests, voluntary access letters, civil investigative demands, other compulsory legal processes and grand jury subpoenas.

Read the full Alert on the Duane Morris website.

FTC and DOJ Issue Highly Anticipated Merger Guidelines

On December 18, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) jointly issued new Merger Guidelines. The new guidelines amend, update and replace the numerous versions of merger guidelines previously issued by both agencies, including the 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines and the Vertical Merger Guidelines that were issued in 2020 and later withdrawn by the FTC in 2021. Below are our key takeaways, followed by some discussion of how the agencies apply the guidelines and then a deeper-dive into some industry-specific considerations.

Read the full Alert on the Duane Morris website.

What’s Next for Antitrust Enforcement After DOJ’s No-Poach Prosecution Dismissed?

On November 15, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas granted a motion by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss indictments in its last remaining criminal no-poach antitrust case, United States of America v. Surgical Care Affiliates, LLC, et al., No. 3:21-cr-00011-L (N.D. Tex. Nov. 15, 2023). The government’s voluntary dismissal of the case—the first criminal no-poach indictment brought by the DOJ in early 2021—could signify the beginning and end of DOJ’s quest to enforce no-poach agreements as per se violations of the Sherman Act.

Read the full Alert on the Duane Morris website. 

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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