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(8,361 posts)
Fri Jul 28, 2023, 08:38 AM Jul 2023

FTC reaches proposed settlement with Surescripts in illegal monopolization case.

Proposed order remedies anticompetitive conduct that led to higher prices, stifled innovation, and reduced customer choice in e-prescription market

July 27, 2023

The Federal Trade Commission filed a proposed order that would prohibit health information technology company Surescripts from engaging in exclusionary conduct and executing or enforcing non-compete agreements with current and former employees. The FTC’s proposed order, filed in federal court, would resolve charges that Surescripts used anticompetitive tactics to illegally monopolize two e-prescription drug markets and would provide immediate relief to consumers.

The settlement follows a favorable federal court ruling that found that Surescripts possesses monopoly power in e-prescribing services with a 95 percent “supershare.” In adopting the Commission’s position, the opinion made important clarifications of the law, including on the establishment of monopoly power through market share and barriers to entry.

“The FTC will not hesitate to take action in enforcing the antitrust laws to protect health care consumers,” said FTC Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova. “The proposed order is a victory in creating a fair and competitive playing field in the e-prescription drug market. In large part because of Surescripts’ conduct, virtually everyone today who has a prescription filled electronically does so via the Surescripts networks. The proposed order would eliminate the anticompetitive restraints Surescripts has imposed on its customers since 2010 and would create conditions that allow competition to flourish for the benefit of anyone who gets a prescription filled at a pharmacy.”

In April 2019, the FTC sued Surescripts, alleging that the company employed illegal vertical and horizontal restraints in order to maintain its monopolies over two electronic prescribing, or “e-prescribing,” markets: routing and eligibility. The market for routing e-prescriptions uses technology that enables health care providers to send electronic prescriptions directly to pharmacies; whereas the market for eligibility enables health care providers to electronically determine patients’ eligibility for prescription coverage through access to insurance coverage and benefits information, usually through a pharmacy benefit manager.

( The nitty gritty of fighting back monopoly power. )

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