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Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that Hikma Pharmaceuticals plc’s $375 million acquisition of Custopharm, Inc. likely would have harmed competition in the market for the corticosteroid drug triamcinolone acetonide, or TCA.

Only Custopharm and a few other companies now make this drug. First announced in April 2022, the FTC’s complaint alleged that with this acquisition, Hikma was likely to stop developing its own TCA product, threatening competition in the TCA market.

The consent order removes any incentive for Hikma to terminate or delay marketing the TCA product it has under development, by requiring that Custopharm’s parent company retain and transfer Custopharm’s TCA assets to another one of its subsidiaries, Long Grove Pharmaceuticals, LLC. Historically, the entry of additional generic pharmaceutical competitors has led to lower drug prices.

The consent order also requires Long Grove to maintain the competitive viability of the retained TCA assets going forward. And it requires Hikma to seek Commission approval for future TCA-related acquisitions.

The Commission vote to approve the final order was 5-0.      

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Frances Anne Johnson
Bureau of Competition