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FTC Focuses Probe Of Health Data Giant, IQVIA, On Pharma Ads

 |  May 9, 2023

The Federal Trade Commission is conducting an investigation into a merger in the pharmaceutical industry’s $8 billion digital advertising market, reported Politico. 

IQVIA has confirmed the acquisition of Propel Media, which includes DeepIntent, a prominent advertising technology company utilized by pharmaceutical companies for marketing to medical professionals and patients. The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly been examining the transaction for several months, as confirmed by IQVIA and sources familiar with the matter.

The deal, which has not been previously disclosed, was first inked last year, three of the people said. IQVIA is believed to have paid in the range of $700 million to $800 million for the purchase, according to two of the people. The FTC investigation has also not been previously reported.

Read more: FTC Cracking Down On Telehealth Data Sharing

The Federal Trade Commission is conducting an investigation to determine if IQVIA, a pharmaceutical data and analytics company valued at $35 billion, would hold an unjust advantage by controlling the digital advertising market for pharmaceuticals targeting doctors and patients. The potential harm to competitors and increased costs for drugmakers should be taken into consideration. IQVIA is recognized as the leading company in health data and analytics. This information was provided to POLITICO by three anonymous sources as part of a confidential investigation.

The FTC is nearing the end of its investigation, and staff lawyers reviewing the deal are leaning toward filing a lawsuit to block it, according to two of the people. No final decision has been made, and the agency could ultimately choose to not bring a case.

“There are many companies — from very large, well-known companies (e.g., Google, Microsoft/Xandr, WebMD) to smaller recent entrants — providing technology, data, and services to support digital advertising from life science companies to doctors and patients,” IQVIA spokesperson Trent Brown said. “IQVIA began providing some of these services only in the past few years, and the DeepIntent business will fill a gap in IQVIA’s offerings by adding a demand-side platform.”