Health Care Continues To Be a Priority for FTC
On February 6, 2006, the Federal Trade Commission's ("FTC") Congressional Budget Justification for fiscal year 2007 ("CBJ") was submitted to Congress. The CBJ consisted of a Budget Justification, Performance Plan, Program Description and Budget Schedules. The FTC indicated in the CBJ that health care continues to be a priority, mentioning specifically (1) the approval of an acquisition involving two biotechnological companies, conditioned on a divestiture of overlapping assets (p. 3); (2) the upholding of an FTC complaint charging a Fort Worth physicians' group with conspiring to fix prices (p. 3); (3) five physician organizations barred under consent orders from collectively negotiating and fixing prices (p. 3); (4) FTC advocacy against bills in California, North Carolina and North Dakota that the FTC considered likely to restrict competition (p. 6); (5) the issuance of an FTC report entitled "Pharmacy Benefit Managers: Ownership of Mail-Order Pharmacies," that concluded that generally plan sponsors obtained lower prices for prescription drugs from PBM-owned mail-order pharmacies (in comparison to mail-order or retail pharmacies not owned by a PBM) (p. 6); (6) the FTC's intention to address increasing prescription drug prices by monitoring pharmaceutical company mergers and ensuring that lower-cost generic drugs continue to be available (p. 10); and (7) the FTC initiation of a study on authorized generics (p. 10).
The CBJ can be found on the Internet at the FTC web site.
For additional information about this Antitrust Development, please contact Toby G. Singer, leader of the Health Care Antitrust Practice.