FTC Announces Workshop and Roundtable on Emerging Health Care Competition and Consumer Protection Issues

Events to be Held in Washington, DC, This Fall; Public Comments Solicited

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission today announced that it will hold two public workshops and roundtables this fall to examine emerging health care competition and consumer protection issues. The events, which will be held in Washington, DC, will focus on two distinct areas in which competition and consumer protection policies are implicated: 1) competition provided by developing an abbreviated regulatory pathway for follow-on biologic drugs; and 2) competition among health care providers based on quality information. The specific dates of the events, along with detailed agendas for each, will be announced in the near future.

Since the issuance in 2004 of the joint FTC/Department of Justice report, “Improving Health Care: A Dose of Competition,” the importance of issues arising from the application of competition and consumer protection law to health care has increased significantly. The FTC plays an important role in various health care markets through its mission of maintaining competition and protecting consumers. Accordingly, the Commission is holding these public events to gather information about the impact on the potential marketplace of different ways to structure an abbreviated regulatory approval pathway for follow-on biologic drugs. The Commission also seeks to explore further the competitive significance of qualitative health care information from the purchasers’ viewpoint.

Public Comments Sought

In a Federal Register notice to be published soon, and available now as a link to this press release on the FTC’s Web site, the Commission is seeking public comments on a range of issues related to the two workshops. Comments on the questions posed in the notice are due by September 30, 2008. Interested parties also can submit written comments regarding any of the topics to be addressed at the workshops. Such comments must be submitted no later than 30days after the workshop or roundtable. Please see the Federal Register notice for how to file written comments. In the spring of 2009, the FTC will release a report analyzing the potential marketplace impacts of the various policy options in these two areas.

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests for such accommodations should be submitted via e-mail to cmcglothlin@ftc.gov or by calling Carrie McGlothlin at 202-326-3388. Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodations needed and a way to contact you if we need more information. Please provide advance notice.

The Commission vote approving issuance of the Federal Register notice announcing the workshops and soliciting electronic and written comments was 4-0.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

(FTC File No. P083901)
(Emerging HC Issues.final.wpd)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Mitchell J. Katz,
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2161
Staff Contact:
Michael S. Wroblewski,
Bureau of Competition
202-326-2435