In cities and towns throughout the U.S., hospitals are a key part of the health care delivery system. Every day, Americans seek care from their local hospital at significant and vulnerable times, from the birth of a baby to treatment for a serious illness. The FTC works to promote competition in health care markets, including hospital services, because vigorous competition promotes the delivery of high-quality, cost-effective health care.
The FTC employs many experts in competition, consumer protection, and economics. We embrace our special role in helping other policymakers understand how the competitive process benefits consumers, and encouraging them to adopt rules that promote competition.
Last year the FTC negotiated a consent order with Google Inc. and its subsidiary Motorola Mobility (MMI) resolving charges that the companies engaged in unfair competition by violating the FRAND commitments for some of MMI’s standard-essential patents (SEPs). A key feature in the Commission’s Order is a requirement that Google offer potential licensees binding arbitration when negotiations over licensing SEPs break down.
When was your last health exam? Just as we (are supposed to) get regular check-ups from our health care providers, the FTC thinks it is smart to do a periodic check-up on the health care industry itself. Health care is a critical sector of the U.S. economy, affecting the lives of all American consumers.
Every year, we receive thousands of emails, letters, and phone calls from businesses and consumers relating facts they believe present an antitrust concern. The Bureau welcomes inquiries from the public because a call or email can be the source of information that leads to an antitrust enforcement action to stop or prevent anticompetitive conduct. More generally, an important part of the FTC’s mission is to promote public understanding of the competitive process. So, in addition to our law enforcement duties, it’s our job to listen and to educate.
As Yogi Berra reputedly said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” But that is precisely the job Congress gave to antitrust enforcers nearly 100 years ago when it passed the Clayton Act and established the Federal Trade Commission, in part, to enforce it. By its terms, the Clayton Act was designed to deal with antitrust violations before they occur, to address them in their incipiency.
A few minutes ago, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez delivered opening remarks to kick off today’s FTC workshop exploring emerging issues affecting competition and patient access to biologic medicines.
You can view a live webcast of the workshop on the FTC’s website, or follow live tweets all day at #FTCFOB.
When Congress passed the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, it created minimum dollar thresholds to limit the burden of premerger reporting. In 2000, it amended the HSR statute to require the annual adjustment of these thresholds based on the change in gross national product. As a result, reportability under the Act changes from year to year as the statutory thresholds adjust. The PNO fields many questions about the upcoming adjustments to the HSR thresholds from parties whose transactions may take place around the time of the revisions.
This will come as no shock to anyone familiar with the Federal Trade Commission’s policy and advocacy function: FTC staff has a long history of advocating for effective competition and consumer protection in electricity markets.
If you regularly use FTC.gov to find cases, speeches, reports or such, then you’ve probably noticed a few changes. We know -- change is hard. But with added features like drop-down menus and filters, finding what you need on the new FTC.gov should be easier than ever.
Remember 1997? Cellphones had antennas and DVDs were the next new thing. Maybe you “surfed the Web,” but more likely not: only 18 percent of U.S. households had a computer connected to the Internet, according to the Census Bureau.
Every new year brings an opportunity for reflection on the past and the future. 2014 is a milestone for the Federal Trade Commission as it marks 100 years since President Woodrow Wilson signed the FTC Act into law. We will be commemorating our centennial throughout the year by reflecting on our history of fostering honest business practices and robust competition in the marketplace.
Today, five years post-consummation, the Commission approved Polypore International, Inc.’s application to sell Microporous, a competitor it purchased in 2008. Polypore was ordered to divest the entire business it had purchased after the Commission determined that the merger had substantially lessened competition in violation of the antitrust laws.
Each year, the Premerger Notification Office answers thousands of letters, phone calls, and emails regarding the Hart-Scott-Rodino rules, giving informal advice on the potential reportability of transactions and help in completing the HSR Notification and Report Form.
When faced with a major illness, patients usually want the best medicine available, regardless of cost. In some cases, next-generation “biologic” medicines may be the best treatments available. Unfortunately, these critical treatments can be very expensive. For example, Herceptin, used to treat breast cancer, can cost more than $50,000 a year; Remicade, which treats rheumatoid arthritis, more than $10,000 a year.
With the agency’s 100th anniversary just around the corner, we’re giving the public an updated FTC.gov. The revised site provides better access to information about us and our efforts to protect consumers and promote competition.
When we designed the site, we listened to advice from lots of regular people, as well as experts in the competition and consumer protection communities. The result? An overhauled FTC.gov that is more powerful, easy to use and attractive.
Welcome to Competition Matters, the FTC’s newest blog for all things competition. We hope to become your go-to spot for the latest insights and events from the Bureau of Competition, the Bureau of Economics, and the Office of Policy Planning. We’ll also have occasional missives from our Office of International Affairs on their work to build cooperative relationships with foreign enforcement agencies, and to promote sound approaches to common problems. Along the way, we’ll highlight offerings by competition folks throughout the agency that may not get front page attention.