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U.S. Healthcare Industry Remains Antitrust Enforcement Priority

 |  October 5, 2022

By: John Carroll & Rachel Guy (Antitrust Law Blog/Sheppard Mullin)

Representing a sizable portion of the American economy, few industries in the United States have received more attention from the press, legislators, and antitrust agencies than the healthcare industry—particularly in recent years. Recent developments at the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) reaffirm that healthcare remains a top antitrust enforcement priorities in the United States.

FTC Chair Lina Khan recently remarked that the agency remains “committed to challenging unlawful deals…in critical sectors of the economy,” including healthcare. Khan’s commitment is tangible in the agency’s recent actions: of the six mergers the FTC has sued to block thus far in 2022, three are in the healthcare industry. Among them is the proposed acquisition of an independent New Jersey hospital by one of the largest hospital systems in the state, which the FTC alleged would—among other harms—leave consumers in New Brunswick with a sole provider.

Both the FTC and DOJ also recently affirmed their commitment to rooting out unilateral anticompetitive behavior among healthcare players. At the ABA’s 2022 Antitrust in Healthcare Conference, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Andrew Forman announced that the division now views Section 2 enforcement as a top priority, citing the significant “cost, delay, and burden” that unscrupulous unilateral actors can impose on healthcare consumers…