The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Trial Approaching in California Hospital Antitrust Case. Spurred in part by former President Barack Obama’s health care law, hospitals across the country have merged to form massive medical systems in the belief it would simplify the process for patients. But a simpler bill doesn’t always guarantee a cheaper bill. That’s a key issue in an antitrust lawsuit against one of California’s largest hospital systems set to begin Monday. About 1,500 self-funded health plans have sued Sutter Health, a system that includes 24 hospitals across Northern California.
House Democrats ask if Trump interfered in DOJ automaker antitrust probe. Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers on Thursday asked the White House to turn over documents that would show if President Donald Trump interfered or directed a Justice Department antitrust probe of four automakers that struck voluntary agreements with California to reduce tailpipe emissions, according to a letter seen by Reuters. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, and Representative David Cicilline, head of the antitrust subcommittee, asked White House counsel Patrick Cipollone and Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney General for the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, to turn over any documents or communications between Trump, White House staff or Justice Department officials related to the probe into Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co., BMW AG and Volkswagen AG by Oct. 2.
U.S. Senators urge FTC to scrutinize multi-billion dollar pharma mergers. U.S. presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar on Tuesday led a letter by U.S. senators that urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to closely scrutinize pharma mergers, raising concerns about the potential harm to customers. The U.S. healthcare industry has seen a string of multi-billion dollar deals and consolidation is expected to remain a major theme for the rest of the year. Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $74 billion buyout of Celgene Corp. and AbbVie Inc.’s $63 billion bid for troubled smaller rival Allergan Plc were among the largest deals announced this year. The deals proposed by AbbVie and Bristol-Myers raise significant antitrust issues, the senators wrote, calling on the FTC to “take appropriate action” to protect consumers from mergers that may threaten competition, raise drug prices or reduce patient access to essential medications.