The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
FTC urges judge to unwind $7.1 bln Illumina-Grail merger. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday said it seeks to unwind life science company Illumina Inc’s $7.1 billion acquisition of Grail Inc, alleging it would harm innovation and boost prices. FTC senior counsel Susan Musser said in her opening statement at a trial in Washington that cancer test-detection company Grail and its competitors rely on San Diego, California-based Illumina’s DNA sequencing technology. She argued that Illumina’s purchase of Grail would give the company the “incentive and ability to foreclose downstream rivals.” Antitrust lawyers are closely tracking the FTC trial as a rare enforcement action against a “vertical” merger in which two companies are not direct competitors. The FTC’s witnesses are expected to include representatives from other companies competing with Grail.
Takeda must face Actos antitrust claims, 2nd Circuit says. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd lost its bid at the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday to escape claims that it misdescribed its patents to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to improperly delay generic versions of its blockbuster diabetes drug Actos.
U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Wesley, writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, affirmed that Takeda’s characterization of its patents was incorrect, and that distributors and health plans can pursue their claims that Takeda misused them to illegally extend Actos’ patent protection, monopolize the market and charge higher prices. The Hatch-Waxman Act governs generic drug approvals, under which brand-name drugmakers list their patents covering a drug in the FDA’s Orange Book.
Why Apple Won Its Legal Settlement With Developers. Apple said Thursday that it had reached a legal settlement with app developers who accused it of abusing its control of the mobile-app market. The settlement of the lawsuit was complex, and various people in the tech industry had widely different reactions to it. Apple and the people who sued it framed the deal as a major concession from Apple and a victory for developers. Some of Apple’s critics, including companies that pay it millions of dollars in app fees, called it a “sham” that did little to change Apple’s anticompetitive restraints.
Full 6th Circ. urged to rehear Ohio hospital’s antitrust claims. Ohio-based hospital McLaren St. Luke’s on Tuesday urged the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a decision that said a rival medical system did not violate antitrust law when its insurance subsidiary dropped it from its provider network. Filed by its lawyers at Honigman, St. Luke’s petition seeking en banc review or panel reconsideration says the three-judge panel’s Aug. 10 decision overlooked key pieces of evidence showing the alleged harm stemming from the change by the insurance arm of ProMedica Health Systems Inc. The panel ruling vacated a preliminary injunction that kept Toledo, Ohio-based ProMedica from canceling contracts with St. Luke’s. The case involves what the Federal Trade Commission has called an “unsettled” area of antitrust law: the duty, if any, owed from one firm to a competitor.
Edited by Gary J. Malone