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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  September 20, 2023

Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.


US FTC warns drugmakers over patent listings.  The U.S. Federal Trade Commission warned brand-name drugmakers they could face legal action if they improperly list patents with federal health regulators and said it will scrutinize any improper listings. “Improperly listing patents in the Orange Book may harm competition from less expensive generic alternatives and keep prices artificially high,” the FTC said in a policy statement to pharmaceutical companies that it said was also backed by the Food and Drug Administration.


Delta, United must face class action over US airfares.  Delta Air Lines and United Airlines were ordered by a federal judge to face a consumer antitrust class action accusing major U.S. carriers of conspiring to drive up domestic airfares by reducing the number of available seats. In a decision, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington, D.C., said passengers offered a “fair amount” or circumstantial evidence of a conspiracy to reduce seating capacity in order to boost profit. “Defendants engaged admittedly and openly in the practice of capacity discipline on domestic flights, with the effect that diminished capacity resulted in higher industry profits,” Kollar-Kotelly wrote in a 70-page decision.


US Senate committee to consider Biden’s Republican nominees to FTC.  A U.S. Senate committee will meet to consider President Joe Biden’s nomination of Virginia Solicitor General Andrew Ferguson and Utah Solicitor General Melissa Holyoak to fill Republican slots at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). If confirmed by the Senate, the two Republicans will not change the balance of power at the FTC, which enforces antitrust law and rules against deceptive advertising. It currently has a Democratic chair, Lina Khan, and two Democratic commissioners.


US Senator Warren presses Pentagon on L3 Harris deal to buy Aerojet.  U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat who wants more mergers scrutinized, questioned Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about the Pentagon’s role in the approval in July of L3 Harris Technologies’ purchase of Aerojet Rocketdyne at a time when the number of defense contractors is at a historic low. L3 Harris said on July 26 it was informed that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission would not block its $4.7 billion deal for Aerojet Rocketdyne. It closed the deal within days.


Edited by Gary J. Malone