During his testimony, FTC Chairman Joseph J. Simons revealed the agency’s recent successes in preventing anticompetitive mergers and conduct, as well as its significant policy initiatives, advocacy work, and engagement with antitrust enforcement agencies in other countries.
Last year, the agency worked to protect consumers in 22 merger cases in a variety of industries, including obtaining preliminary injunctions in two federal court merger cases. And in two other potential mergers, the parties abandoned their plans after the FTC voted to start litigation.
Other successes include the agency’s unanimous vote in March that Impax Laboratories and Endo Pharmaceuticals had entered into a reverse payment arrangement that delayed entry of generic competition for Opana ER, an extended release opioid for pain relief.
The FTC also sued to stop Evonik Industries AG’s proposed acquisition of PeroxyChem Holding company because it believed the merger would stifle competition in the Pacific Northwest and the southern and central United States for the production and sale of hydrogen peroxide.
The FTC also filed an administrative complaint to block the merger of title insurance providers Fidelity National Financial Inc. and Stewart Information Services, leading the companies to cancel the transaction.
Simons also noted during his testimony that the FTC is working to protect competition in technology markets. The agency recently voted to sue Surescripts, alleging that the company engaged in exclusive dealing and other forms of exclusionary behavior to reduce competition and preserve its monopoly.
In addition, the FTC’s Bureau of Competition recently established a Technology Task Force to consolidate and coordinate agency work in this sector.
But just last week, Rohit Chopra, a commissioner with the FTC, said fining Big Tech companies won’t have any real effect on changing the way they run, and more may need to be done.
“We’re not going to solve some of these problems just by small-time fines that aren’t going to change the underlying business model of these firms,” he said. “We actually have to take a hard look at whether these behemoths are killing off innovation and competition.”