As a condition of Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC’s $375 million acquisition of generic drug services company Custopharm, Inc., the Federal Trade Commission required Custopharm’s parent company, private equity fund Water Street Healthcare Partners, LLC to retain and transfer Custopharm’s assets related to the corticosteroid drug triamcinolone acetonide, or TCA, to another company Water Street owns, Long Grove Pharmaceuticals, LLC. According to the complaint, absent a remedy, Hikma likely would have stopped developing its injectable TCA product, forestalling the increased price competition it would have brought to the market. Thus without this remedy, the acquisition likely would have harmed future competition in the U.S. market for injectable triamcinolone acetonide.
Every year the FTC brings hundreds of cases against individuals and companies for violating consumer protection and competition laws that the agency enforces. These cases can involve fraud, scams, identity theft, false advertising, privacy violations, anti-competitive behavior and more. The Legal Library has detailed information about cases we have brought in federal court or through our internal administrative process, called an adjudicative proceeding.
The Federal Trade Commission is taking action against grill maker Weber-Stephen Products, LLC, for illegally restricting customers’ right to repair their purchased products.The FTC’s complaint charges that Weber’s warranty included terms that conveyed that the warranty is void if customers use or install third-party parts on their grill products. Weber is being ordered to fix its warranty by removing illegal terms and recognizing the right to repair and come clean with customers about their ability to use third-party parts.
The Federal Trade Commission filed an administrative complaint and authorized a suit in federal court, to block Hackensack Meridian Health, Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Englewood Healthcare Foundation. The complaint alleges that the merged healthcare system would control three of the six inpatient general acute care hospitals in Bergen County, New Jersey. The proposed acquisition would eliminate close competition between Hackensack Meridian Health and Englewood in Bergen County and leave insurers with few alternatives for inpatient general acute care services, which encompass a broad range of inpatient medical and surgical diagnostic and treatment services that require an overnight hospital stay. On Aug. 4, 2021, the FTC obtained a preliminary injunction halting the acquisition while the administrative trial is underway. On March 22, 2022, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the preliminary injunction. The administrative trial is scheduled to begin on April 22, 2022.
The Federal Trade Commission filed an administrative complaint alleging that Altria Group, Inc. and JUUL Labs, Inc. entered a series of agreements, including Altria’s acquisition of a 35% stake in JUUL, that eliminated competition in violation of federal antitrust laws. According to the complaint, this series of agreements involved Altria ceasing to compete in the U.S. market for closed-system electronic cigarettes in return for a substantial ownership interest in JUUL, by far the dominant player in that market. In an initial decision announced on Feb. 24, 2022, Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell dismissed the antitrust charges in the complaint.
The Federal Trade Commission authorized an administrative complaint and a suit in federal court to block the acquisition of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System by RWJBarnabas Health, or RWJ, which is one of the largest hospital systems in New Jersey. The complaint alleges that in Middlesex County, in the central part of the state, the acquisition will harm competition for inpatient general acute care services, which are a broad range of essential medical and surgical diagnostic and treatment services that require an overnight hospital stay. The FTC’s federal court suit seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the deal and maintain the status quo while the agency pursues an administrative trial on the merits of the case. On June 14, 2022, the parties announced that they had abandoned the transaction.
The Federal Trade Commission filed an administrative complaint and authorized a federal court lawsuit to block Illumina’s $7.1 billion proposed acquisition of Grail—a maker of a non-invasive, early detection liquid biopsy test that can screen for multiple types of cancer in asymptomatic patients at very early stages using DNA sequencing. Illumina is the only provider of DNA sequencing that is a viable option for these multi-cancer early detection, or MCED, tests in the United States.
The complaint alleges the proposed acquisition will diminish innovation in the U.S. market for MCED tests, which could be used to detect up to 50 types of cancer. Most of these types of cancer are not screened for at all today, and the MCED test could save millions of lives around the world. The trial began on Aug. 24, 2021. On May 20, 2021, the FTC authorized staff to dismiss its federal court complaint for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order.
The Federal Trade Commission has required Prince International Corp. and Ferro Corp. to divest three facilities used to make porcelain enamel frit, glass enamel, and forehearth colorants, as a condition of Prince’s parent company – American Securities Partners VII, L.P. – acquiring competitor Ferro Corp. for $2.1 billion. According to the complaint, the acquisition as proposed likely would allow the merged firm to unilaterally raise prices for porcelain enamel frit in the North American market, and for forehearth colorants in the world market. It also would eliminate Prince as an independent competitor in the world market for glass enamel, increasing the likelihood of coordination between the merged firm and its largest competitor, Fenzi Holdings SPV S.p.A. On July 5, 2022, the Commission announced the final consent agreement in this matter.
In March 2022, the FTC announced that two Texas-based companies and their owner are banned from advertising or selling dietary supplements, and from making claims that their products treat, cure, or reduce the risk of disease, under a proposed settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The agency announced final approval of the order in June 2022.
The Federal Trade Commission required Medtronic, Inc. to divest a key subsidiary of Intersect ENT, Inc. as a condition of acquiring Intersect. Under the FTC consent decree, Instersect’s Fiagon subsidiary, which makes ear, nose, and throat navigation systems and balloon sinus dilation products, will be sold to Hemostasis, LLC. According to the complaint, without this divestiture, the acquisition would pose a threat to future competition in the United States for both ENT navigation systems and balloon sinus dilation products. On June 30, 2022, the Commission announced the final consent agreement in this matter.
In September 2019, the operators of a deceptive negative option scheme agreed to a court-ordered preliminary injunction temporarily barring them from a wide range of conduct. The preliminary injunction stops the defendants from misleading consumers about supposedly “free trial” offers, enrolling them in unwanted continuity plans, billing them without their authorization, and making it nearly impossible for them to cancel or get their money back. In June 2022, the Commission announced it was returning $5.4 million to defrauded consumers.
The Federal Trade Commission imposed strict limits on JAB Consumer Partners’ future acquisitions of specialty and emergency veterinary clinics as a condition of JAB’s proposed $1.65 billion acquisition of VIPW, LLC, the parent of Ethos, an owner and operator of specialty and emergency veterinary clinics. The Commission alleged that the acquisition was likely to be anticompetitive in four geographic markets, ordering divestitures for various types of veterinary care in and around Richmond, Virginia, in and around the Washington DC Metro Area, particularly for customers to the southeast in Virginia and Maryland, in and around Denver, Colorado, and in and around downtown San Francisco, California.
The Federal Trade Commission today sued Walmart for allowing its money transfer services to be used by fraudsters, who fleeced consumers out of hundreds of millions of dollars. In its lawsuit, the FTC alleges that for years, the company turned a blind eye while scammers took advantage of its failure to properly secure the money transfer services offered at Walmart stores. The company did not properly train its employees, failed to warn customers, and used procedures that allowed fraudsters to cash out at its stores, according to the FTC’s complaint. The FTC is asking the court to order Walmart to return money to consumers and to impose civil penalties for Walmart’s violations.
The Federal Trade Commission and the State of Florida are taking action against Grant Bae and its owner, Traeshonna P. Graham, a COVID-19 scammer preying on minority-owned small businesses seeking pandemic relief. The complaint alleges that the fictitious grant-writing service scammed each business out of thousands of dollars with false promises of easy access to “guaranteed” grant funding and COVID-19 economic benefits that did not materialize. In response to a complaint filed by the FTC and the State of Florida, a federal court has temporarily shut down the company and frozen the defendants’ assets.
The Federal Trade Commission issued an administrative complaint challenging Axon Enterprise, Inc.’s consummated acquisition of its body-worn camera systems competitor VieVu, LLC. Before the acquisition, the two companies competed to provide body-worn camera systems to large, metropolitan police departments across the United States. According to the complaint, Axon’s May 2018 acquisition reduced competition in an already concentrated market. Before their merger, Axon and VieVu competed to sell body-worn camera systems that were particularly well suited for large metropolitan police departments. The Commission vote to issue the administrative complaint was 5-0. On April 17, 2020, the Commission announced a proposed settlement with Safariland, which is one of the respondents and the parent company of VieVu. The final settlement was issued on June 11, 2020. The administrative trial was scheduled to begin on Oct. 13, 2020, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered a stay until further notice.
The FTC alleged that CafePress failed to implement reasonable security measures to protect sensitive information stored on its network, including plain text Social Security numbers, inadequately encrypted passwords, and answers to password reset questions. The Commission’s proposed order requires the company to bolster its data security and requires its former owner to pay a half million dollars to compensate small businesses.