FTC eyes new approach to pharmaceutical mergers

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is eyeing a tougher approach to its review of pharmaceutical mergers.

The commission said in a statement Tuesday it is launching a working group with domestic and international agencies to “identify concrete and actionable steps to review and update the analysis of pharmaceutical mergers.”

“This project will ensure that FTC investigations include fresh approaches that fully analyze and address the varied competitive concerns that these mergers and acquisitions raise,” the commission said.

Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, a Democrat designated by President Biden as acting chairwoman of the FTC after he entered office in January, said in a Twitter thread the agency needs to “revamp” its approach to such mergers amid “skyrocketing drug prices and ongoing anticompetitive conduct in the pharma industry.”

Slaughter added that the commission’s approach to pharmaceutical mergers tends to address overlaps in products and pipeline products between merging parties but does not capture “all the effects” of such mergers.

She noted that others, including Democratic Commissioner Rohit Chopra and Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), have raised similar concerns.

The FTC will be working with the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and offices of state attorneys general as well as the Canadian Competition Bureau, the European Commission Directorate General for Competition, and the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority.

Slaughter said in a statement the working group intends to “take an aggressive approach to tackling anticompetitive pharmaceutical mergers.”

Porter praised the move on Twitter, saying, “This is a great move from the Biden @FTC that will tackle the same issues I raised in a report earlier this year about how Big Pharma mergers hurt patients and stifle innovation. I stand ready to work with the Administration to hold drug companies accountable.”


Tags Department of Justice Federal Trade Commission Federal Trade Commission Joe Biden Katie Porter mergers pharma Pharmaceutical industry Rebecca Kelly Slaughter Rohit Chopra
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