FTC Staff Will Not Recommend Agency Challenge Two New Drug Supplier Audit Programs; FTC Approves Final Order Settling Charges That Fidelity National Financial's Acquisition of Land America was Anticompetitive; Seeks Public Comments on Divestiture

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FTC Staff Will Not Recommend Agency Challenge Two New Drug Supplier Audit Programs

The staff of the Federal Trade Commission has advised a consortium of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that it has no present intention to recommend that the agency challenge the Consortium’s planned joint supplier quality and safety audit programs. Under these programs, consortium members will be able to share both prior quality and safety audit information and the costs of sponsoring further quality and safety audits of common suppliers.

In an advisory opinion letter responding to a request from the Rx-360 International Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Consortium, the FTC staff states that it appears that the audit programs: 1) do not require exchanges of competitively significant information, 2) contain protections to reduce Rx-360 members’ ability to use the programs for anticompetitive ends, 3) protect audited firms from concerted misuse of the audit programs, and 4) are intended and likely to promote efficiency, quality, and safety. Accordingly, FTC staff advises, it has no present intention to recommend to the Commission that it challenge the programs.

Rx-360 asked the FTC staff for guidance about the law enforcement implications of the two proposed supplier audit programs and supplied information to the staff about the proposed programs. Under the FTC’s Rules of Practice, companies can seek guidance from the Commission or its staff about specific business conduct they are considering undertaking, and what the law enforcement intentions of the Commission or staff would be. These Commission and FTC staff advisory opinions are not binding on the Commission, the courts, other governmental entities, or private parties.

The advisory opinion can be found on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2010/09/100916bloomletter.pdf. (The staff contact is Michael Bloom, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2475.)

FTC Approves Final Order Settling Charges That Fidelity National Financial’s Acquisition of Land America was Anticompetitive; Seeks Public Comments on Divestiture Application

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final consent order settling charges that Fidelity National Financial Inc.’s acquisition of the three LandAmerica Financial, Inc. subsidiaries was anticompetitive. The FTC vote approving the final order was 5-0. (FTC File No. 091-0132; the staff contact is Elizabeth Piotrowski, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2623. See press release dated July 16, 2010 at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/07/fidelity.shtm.)

The FTC also is seeking public comments on a divestiture application submitted by Fidelity National related to an FTC order settling charges that its 2008 acquisition of three LandAmerica Financial subsidiaries reduced competition in markets for real estate title information services. The consent order requires Fidelity to sell several real estate databases, known as title plants, and related assets in the Portland, Oregon and Detroit, Michigan metropolitan areas, and in four other Oregon counties.

In the petition, which can be found on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release at http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/0910032/100916fidelitypetition.pdf, Fidelity has requested Commission approval to divest the Michigan Title Plant Assets to Data Trace Information Services, LLC, under a purchase agreement dated September 2, 2010. Data Trace is an independent title services provider.

The FTC is accepting public comments on the petition for 30 days, starting today and continuing through October 18, 2010. Comments can be sent to: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580.

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s website at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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