The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
U.S. lawmakers introduce eight antitrust bills aimed at drug prices. U.S. lawmakers from both parties and both houses of Congress have introduced eight antitrust bills aimed at tackling the problem of high and rising drug prices, including bills to stop brand name drug companies from paying generic firms to stay off the market. In an unusual hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel on Thursday, lawmakers from both parties and from both the Senate and the House said that they had introduced bills aimed at stopping practices that pharmaceutical companies use to fend off generic competition, which studies show tend to push down prices. “Millions of Americans started their day with a dose of prescription medication. Unfortunately, for many patients, those drugs aren’t affordable. Prescriptions are left at the pharmacy counter. Doses are skipped or rationed until the next paycheck. That’s unacceptable,” said Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, at the House hearing.
EU antitrust regulators charge Appleover App Store restrictions. EU antitrust regulators on Friday charged iPhone maker Apple with setting restrictive rules on its App Store that force developers to use its own in-app payment system and prevent them from informing users of other purchasing options. The move by the European Commission followed a complaint by Swedish music streaming service Spotify two years ago. “Apple’s rules distort competition in the market for music streaming services by raising the costs of competing music streaming app developers. This in turn leads to higher prices for consumers for their in-app music subscriptions on iOS devices,” the European Commission said in a statement.
Facebook says Supreme Court ruling imperils U.S. FTC case against it. Social media giant Facebook, in a court filing late Tuesday, said a Supreme Court ruling the previous week means a Federal Trade Commission antitrust lawsuit against it calling for the sale of WhatsApp and Instagram should be dismissed. The U.S. Supreme Court made it more difficult for the Federal Trade Commission to seek relief from companies. Facebook argued in its court filing that the ruling allows the FTC to use a particular section of the FTC ACT only to demand that certain behavior stop, but the FTC lawsuit does not allege that it is currently breaking the law. With the Supreme Court ruling, Facebook’s lawyers argued, “the FTC lacks statutory authority to maintain its lawsuit in federal district court.”
Edited by Gary J. Malone