Biden administration’s antitrust campaign a concern for pharma

Last year, the Biden administration drafted an executive order that promoted competition in the U.S. economy across several industries, including pharma and biotech. The focus on the pharma industry was not surprising, given Biden’s campaign pledge to curb drug pricing. To that end, the Biden administration has explored a variety of approaches, Robin Adelstein, the global head of antitrust and competition and co-head of commercial litigation, U.S. at Norton Rose Fulbright.

In November, the FTC signaled its intent to provide guidance for enforcement of the FTC Act, passed in 1914, to regulate monopolies and eliminate unfair competition and deceptive business practices.

Robin Adelstein

“For a long time, the FTC Act has been interpreted as being coextensive with the antitrust laws,” Adelstein said.

In 2015, FTC released the Statement of Enforcement Principles Regarding ‘Unf…

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Boston Scientific whistleblower launches corruption investigation

Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) is investigating claims that the company violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in Vietnam.

Marlborough, Massachusetts–based Boston Scientific disclosed receipt of a whistleblower’s allegations in its latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“In March 2022, the company received a whistleblower letter alleging Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations in Vietnam. The company is cooperating with government agencies while investigating these allegations,” the company said in its second-quarter 10-Q filing, dated Aug. 4.

More information about the allegations was not available from the filing or a Boston Scientific spokesperson reached by Medical Design & Outsourcing today. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) was enacted in 1977 to stop companies and their employees or agents from bribing foreign officials to win or…

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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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