Announced Actions for February 23, 2001

Commission approval of trustee agreement:

For Your Information

The Commission has approved an implementation trustee agreement regarding the following: Entergy Corporation, et al. On January 31, 2001, the FTC issued its order related to the purchase of Gulf South Pipeline Company by Entergy-Koch, LP. Pursuant to Paragraph III of the order, Stephen P. Reynolds was named implementation trustee, with the power and authority necessary to permit him to monitor certain terms of the order. The respondents in this matter were required to execute a trust agreement with the trustee within 10 business days to provide him with the required power and authority. The agreement approved by the Commission will therefore effectively enable Reynolds to serve as the implementation trustee to further the purpose of the order. The Commission vote to approve the agreement was 4-0, with Commissioner Sheila Anthony recused. (Docket No. C-3998; staff contact is William R. Vigdor, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-3177; see press release dated January 31, 2001.)

Publication of Federal Register notices:

The Commission has approved a Federal Register notice regarding the following: FTC's proposed study of U.S. generic drug competition. The proposed study will enable the Commission to provide a more complete picture of how generic competition has developed under the Hatch-Waxman Act. The FTC already has taken enforcement action against alleged anticompetitive agreements whose operation depended in part on certain provisions of the Hatch-Waxman Act. The study will shed light on matters such as whether the agreements the FTC has found are isolated instances or are more typical, and whether particular provisions of the Act have operated appropriately to balance the legitimate interests of pharmaceutical companies in protection of their intellectual property and the legitimate interests of generic companies in providing competition, or have instead unintentionally enabled anticompetitive strategies that delay or deter market entry by generic drugs.

Through this action, the Commission has approved the second of two Federal Register notices required by the Paperwork Reduction Act prior to conducting such a study. The notice, which will be published shortly, states that the FTC is seeking clearance from the Office of Management and Budget ("OMB"), as well as additional public comments regarding the proposed information-collection requests. In response to the first notice, the Commission received 11 comments, eight of which endorsed the proposed study.

Based on the comments received, the Commission has incorporated several suggestions to narrow the study to reduce burden and to avoid collecting documents that the FTC did not intend to collect. However, other proposals to narrow the proposed study would unnecessarily limit the study's usefulness. Likewise, the Commission has not followed the suggestions to broaden the proposed study to investigate the pricing and distribution practices of pharmaceutical companies, because the magnitude of such an investigation is beyond the proposed study's scope and the resources available to complete it in a timely manner. The Commission has also submitted a supporting statement regarding the study to OMB for its approval.

The Commission vote to approve the Federal Register notice and supporting statement was 5-0. (FTC File No. V000014; staff contact is Michael S. Wroblewski, 202-326-2155; see previous press release dated October 11, 2000.)

The Commission has approved a Federal Register notice regarding the following: FTC's Amplifier Rule review. Based on a request from an industry association, the Commission has approved an extension of the public comment period until March 30, 2001 regarding a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking for the Amplifier Rule. This notice solicited public comments on the FTC's proposal to amend the Rule's testing procedures to provide appropriate power output ratings for the recently introduced class of "home theater" receivers that incorporate five or more channels of amplification. The comment period was originally set to expire on February 23, 2001. The Commission vote to approve the Federal Register notice was 5-0. (FTC File No. P974222; staff contact is Neil J. Blickman, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3038; see press release dated December 19, 2000.)

Commission report approved for release:

The Commission has approved the release of its annual report on the Truth in Lending, Consumer Leasing, Equal Credit Opportunity and Electronic Fund Transfer Acts. The vote to approve the release of the report was 5-0. (FTC File No. P014805; staff contact is Carole L. Reynolds, 202-326-3230.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC's Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies worldwide.

Contact Information

Media Contact:
FTC Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180