Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova issued the following statement regarding the announcement that RWJBarnabas Health, or RWJ, and Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, or Saint Peter’s, have abandoned their proposed merger:
“I am glad that rival hospital systems RWJ and Saint Peter’s have terminated an anticompetitive merger that would have harmed patients in Middlesex County, New Jersey. The transaction would have combined two hospitals located less than a mile from each other, which also happen to be the only two hospitals in the city of New Brunswick, New Jersey. With combined shares of approximately 50 percent for inpatient general acute care services in Middlesex County, New Jersey, the transaction was presumptively unlawful and would have resulted in higher prices and lower quality of care for New Jersey residents.
“I am proud to say that this is the third time the Commission has filed a complaint to block an anticompetitive hospital merger so far in 2022. This enforcement action is a reminder that the FTC remains vigilant in enforcing the antitrust laws and will continue to protect healthcare consumers who are faced with unlawful hospital consolidation.
“I would also like to thank the entire FTC team for their excellent work investigating and building a strong case. The abandonment of this transaction is a testament to the efforts that our staff bring day in and day out to preserve competition and protect consumers.”
On June 2, 2022, the Commission voted 5-0 to file an administrative complaint to block the proposed transaction. The complaint alleged that the proposed acquisition would eliminate important head-to-head competition between the parties, significantly increase concentration for general acute care services in Middlesex County, New Jersey, and leave insurers and patients with fewer, less attractive alternatives.