WASHINGTON—Ahead of the Thursday hearings in the U.S. House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee on anticompetitive conduct and consolidation in health care markets, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, issued the following statement from Aurelien Portuese, ITIF’s director of antitrust and innovation policy:
There is no evidence that the FTC or the Department of Justice lack the statutory authority to effectively address competition in both hospital mergers and pharma deals.
It is a known fact that mergers in health-care markets can benefit or stifle competition and innovation. As the FTC has shown, hospital mergers often deserve closer antitrust scrutiny because they are competing in local markets subject to concentration. Moreover, pharma deals rarely result in stealth consolidation: Discontinuation of products post-mergers does not inherently harm consumers or innovation.
Congress should press the two agencies to continue their ongoing cooperation enforcement efforts on pharma mergers and wait on these efforts to generate tangible results. Policymakers should avoid introducing legislation before these cooperative enforcement efforts prove effective.