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. antitrust official says competition in labor markets a top concern. The U.S. Justice Department’s acting head of its Antitrust Division said on Friday that labor markets were a top priority for enforcement efforts, indicating a shift toward issues set by the White House’s executive order on competition. While antitrust enforcers have brought labor antitrust cases in the past, and the Trump Administration’s Justice Department brought one against a no-poach agreement between rail equipment suppliers in 2018, they are rare. “The division has become increasingly alert to and concerned by business conduct and transactions that harm competition for working people,” said Richard Powers, acting head of the division, in a conference in New York. Powers added that the coronavirus pandemic made the focus on labor even more critical.
U.S., EU agree to work on chip supplies, tech rules, China trade. The United States and European Union agreed on Wednesday to deepen transatlantic cooperation to strengthen semiconductor supply chains, curb China’s non-market trade practices and take a more unified approach to regulating big, global technology firms. Launching a new forum, the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council, senior cabinet officials from both continents also pledged to cooperate on the screening of investments on export controls for sensitive dual-use technologies and on the development of artificial intelligence. The statement did not mention China but said: “We stand together in continuing to protect our businesses, consumers, and workers from unfair trade practices, in particular those posed by non-market economies, that are undermining the world trading system.” The Biden administration has kept in place tariffs imposed by former U.S. president Donald Trump but has sought to differentiate itself by collaborating more with allies in its approach to China.
In ‘Pharma Bro’ antitrust case, judge won’t curb states’ disgorgement power. New York and other states will be allowed to seek a nationwide disgorgement order if they win at trial on their claim that Vyera Pharmaceuticals LLC and its former chief executive Martin Shkreli participated in an anticompetitive scheme to maintain a price boost for the life-saving drug Daraprim. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan federal court said in her ruling that New York law permitted the state to move to recoup alleged ill-gotten corporate gains nationally. The ruling was a blow to Swiss pharmaceutical Vyera and its parent Phoenixus AG, which wanted to limit the reach of any pursuit of disgorgement to sales tied to victims within the plaintiff states.
Edited by Gary J. Malone