The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) said it “is reviewing with great interest” a draft update of Merger Guidelines released July 19 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
In a July 19 news announcement, the NCPA noted that last year it “urged the agencies to amend the guidelines to bring healthcare consolidation into focus and also include quality, choice, and lower costs for consumers.”
NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, MBA, said in the announcement, “Over the last 40 years, the accommodating policy toward mergers found in the current structure and application of the guidelines has resulted in a substantial lessening of competition throughout the economy. Even the simple step of more faithfully applying the guidelines as currently written would have a positive impact.”
Hoey’s remarks were included in the NCPA’s recommendations.
In its July 19 guidelines release, the FTC and DOG said the draft update is meant to “describe and guide the agencies’ review of mergers and acquisitions to determine compliance with federal antitrust laws. The goal of this update is to better reflect how the agencies determine a merger’s effect on competition in the modern economy and evaluate proposed mergers under the law.”
A 60-day public comment period gives stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft. The deadline for comments is Sept. 18.
In the announcement, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter from the Antitrust Division said, “Competitive markets and economic opportunity go hand in hand. Today, we are issuing draft guidelines that are faithful to the law, which prevents mergers that threaten competition or tend to create monopolies. As markets and commercial realities change, it is vital that we adapt our law enforcement tools to keep pace so that we can protect competition in a manner that reflects the intricacies of our modern economy. Simply put, competition today looks different than it did 50 — or even 15 — years ago. There will be a substantial process for public to review and provide comments before we finalize these guidelines.”