FTC Approves Final Order Settling Charges that Pharmacy Group in Puerto Rico Engaged in Illegal Anticompetitive Conduct

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Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that a Puerto Rican cooperative of pharmacy owners, Cooperativa de Farmacias Puertorriquenas, known as “Coopharma,” harmed competition by negotiating and entering into agreements among its member pharmacies to fix prices on which they contract with insurers and pharmacy benefit managers and by acting collectively to pressure third-party payers to pay its members higher prices.

The final order prohibits Coopharma from entering into or facilitating agreements between or among any pharmacies, and prohibits it from facilitating information exchanges between pharmacies regarding whether, or on what terms to contract with a payer.  It also bars attempts to engage in any of the conduct prohibited by the order.  Finally, the order requires Coopharma to terminate its primary services contracts upon the payer’s request.

The Commission vote approving the final order and a letter to the member of the public who commented was 5-0.  (FTC File No.101-0079; the staff contact is Randall Marks, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2571; see press release dated August 21, 2012.)

The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action.  To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust@ftc.gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 601 New Jersey Ave., Room 7117, Washington, DC 20001.  To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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