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Competition in health care markets benefits consumers because it helps contain costs, improve quality, and encourage innovation. The Federal Trade Commission's job as a law enforcer is to stop firms from engaging in anticompetitive conduct that harms consumers. The agency also provides guidance to market participants -- including physicians and other health professionals, hospitals and other institutional providers, pharmaceutical companies and other sellers of health care products, and insurers -- to help them comply with the nation's antitrust laws.

Additionally, the Commission and its staff undertake a variety of other activities to promote competition in health care. One key area is research and reports on competition issues in health care and, in the past, has included such matters as: empirical studies of generic drug entry, contact lens sales, and mail order pharmacies; economic analyses of the effects of mergers involving non-profit hospitals and of state "any willing provider" laws; and a series of public hearings in 2003 on a wide range of issues in health care.

Another broad area of activity is competition advocacy. Aside from speeches to market participants, the FTC and its staff advise federal and state governmental bodies on competition issues in health care, in an effort to provide policymakers with a sound basis for assessing the implications for competition and consumers of proposed legislative or regulatory actions.

This web site provides information about the full range of FTC activities to protect and promote competition in health care markets.

Core Health Care Competition Documents

Health Care Initiatives

Contact information for Bureau of Competition staff on health care matters