On July 3, District Judge Ada Brown of the Northern District of Texas issued an order enjoining the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) from enforcing its “Final Rule” against plaintiffs Ryan, LLC (“Ryan”) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (the “Chamber”). If implemented, the Final Rule would effectively render nearly all non-compete agreements unlawful. Accordingly, this opinion was one of the most highly anticipated judicial decisions in antitrust and labor and employment law in recent memory.Continue Reading Not So “Final”? Texas Federal Court Enjoins Enforcement of FTC’s Noncompete Ban, Leaving Future of Commission’s Rule in Doubt

On June 6, 2024, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that he led a multistate coalition of eleven (11) state attorneys general in in submitting a comment letter (the “Comment Letter”) in response to the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (together the “Agencies”) request for information regarding consolidation in healthcare by private equity. On March 5, 2024, the Agencies issued a “Request for Information on Consolidation in Healthcare Markets,” on the same day the Agencies hosted a public workshop regarding the impact of private equity investment in the healthcare system. Continue Reading California Attorney General Advocates for Greater Antitrust Enforcement in Private Equity in Healthcare

The health care industry has been a particular focus of antitrust concern in recent years, including recent policy initiatives, private equity warnings, and enforcement actions from both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The new Task Force on Health Care Monopolies and Collusion (HCMC), announced this month by the DOJ, is the latest example of antitrust scrutiny on the industry.Continue Reading New DOJ Health Care Task Force Portends Continued Aggressive Antitrust Enforcement

On April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued its Final Rule banning employers from imposing post-employment noncompete requirements on their workers (the “Final Rule”). The FTC has indicated that it will continue to prioritize enforcement in the healthcare industry, with objectives seeming to include alleviating physician shortages and improving access to healthcare. What the Final Rule means for healthcare organizations generally, and for nonprofits in particular, is not entirely clear and is likely to be challenged. Continue Reading What the FTC’s Noncompete Ban Means for Healthcare

Parties involved in or considering health care transactions in California have been focused on navigating the new rules set by California’s Office of Health Care Affordability (OHCA),[1] and newly proposed legislation could present additional challenges in consummating certain health care transactions, particularly those involving private equity. Introduced in February 2024, California’s Assembly Bill 3129 seeks to curb consolidation in the health care industry allegedly driven by private equity firms and hedge funds. As summarized in greater detail below, the bill would require that these parties obtain prior written consent from California’s Attorney General (AG) before an acquisition or change of control of many types of health care businesses and assets.Continue Reading California’s AB 3129: A New Hurdle for Private Equity Health Care Transactions on the Horizon?

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has filed an amicus brief in Teva Branded Pharmaceuticals Products R&D, Inc. v. Amneal Pharmaceuticals of New York, LLC to further the agency’s efforts to promote and protect generic drug and biosimilar competition. In the case, Teva asserts that Amneal’s Abbreviated New Drug Application (“ANDA”) for an asthma inhaler infringes upon five patents it has listed in the FDA’s Orange Book–a challenge that under FDA regulations triggers a 30-month stay of FDA’s approval of the generic inhaler. Amneal’s counterclaims assert that the Teva patents, which relate to the inhaler device and dose counter, rather than the drug itself, were improperly listed and has asked the court for judgment on the pleadings and an order to delist the patents at issue.Continue Reading FTC’s Campaign Against Improper Orange Book Listings Continues with Amicus Brief in Teva’s Challenge of Amneal Asthma Inhaler ANDA

On March 5, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (“the FTC”) hosted a public workshop titled “Private Capital, Public Impact: An FTC Workshop on Private Equity in Health Care”, which covered the impact of private equity investment on the health care system. The workshop included panelists from the FTC, the Department of Justice (“the DOJ”), the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) (together, “the Agencies”), academic thought-leaders, and health care professionals. On the same day as the workshop the Agencies launched a “Cross-Government Inquiry on Impact of Corporate Greed in Health Care,” issuing a Request for Information (“RFI”) seeking public comment on health care deals involving private equity firms, including deals that would not be reportable under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. The Agencies will use the RFI to inform future enforcement and policy decisions related to health care consolidation. The public has 60 days to submit comments to the Agencies.Continue Reading The FTC Hosts Workshop on Private Equity in Health Care

1. Higher Jurisdictional Thresholds For HSR Filings

On January 22, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission announced revised, higher thresholds for premerger filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR Act). The jurisdictional thresholds are revised annually, based on the change in Gross National Product (GNP).Continue Reading Higher Jurisdictional and Filing Fees Thresholds for HSR Act Premerger Notifications and Interlocking Directorates Announced

Last week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a press release highlighting recent and forthcoming actions by the FTC, Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which they say will further promote competition, thereby lowering costs and increasing the quality of care in the U.S. health care market. In addition to highlighting recent actions by each of the agencies (e.g., the FTC’s proposed non-compete rule), the release states that the three agencies are entering into new partnerships to increase interagency cooperation and advance a “whole-of-government” approach to protect health care competition, including:Continue Reading FTC, DOJ, and HHS Announce Interagency Initiatives to Promote Healthcare Competition

On September 21, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS) and U.S. Anesthesia Partners, Inc. (USAP), in the Southern District of Texas, alleging the two companies “[e]xecuted a multi-year anticompetitive scheme to consolidate anesthesiology practices in Texas, drive up the price of anesthesia services provided to Texas patients, and boost their own profits.”Continue Reading FTC Sues Private Equity Firm and Anesthesiology Practice for Antitrust Violations

On July 19, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice jointly published long-anticipated proposed merger guidelines (the “Proposed Merger Guidelines”), which had been expected since President Biden issued an Executive Order Promoting Competition in the American Economy in the summer of 2021. According to the agencies, the Proposed Merger Guidelines “build upon, expand, and clarify” the prior guidance,[1] to keep up with “modern” market realities.[2] In contrast to the previous versions, the Proposed Merger Guidelines cover both horizontal and vertical mergers. They also cite case law for the first time.[3] Reflecting the Biden Administration’s views on federal antitrust merger enforcement, the Proposed Merger Guidelines substantially expand the types of competitive harm the agencies consider grounds for challenging a transaction under Section 7 of the Clayton Act (which prohibits mergers where the effect is “substantially to lessen competition” or “to tend to create a monopoly”).[4]Continue Reading A Big Deal: FTC and DOJ Issue Long-Awaited New Draft Merger Guidelines