FTC and DOJ staff eyes new ways to enforce antitrust laws in pharma

A two-day virtual workshop from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) mulled the current state of antitrust law enforcement in the pharmaceutical industry, discussing the role of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in driving up prices for consumers.

“A competitively vibrant market protects access to existing drugs and promotes new innovation, but access to medicine is already in peril by untenable costs,” said Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, an FDA commissioner in the workshop, which was held June 14–15.

M&A plays a role in driving up costs, Slaughter argued. “When mergers diminish competition in pharmaceutical markets, the result is higher prices, which can have a devastating effect for patients,” she said. “Enforcement action is necessary to prevent such harms.”

The workshop was organized by the Multilateral Pharmaceutical Merger Task Force, formed in March 2021 by then-Acting FTC Cha…

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