The Federal Trade Commission announced today that it has closed its investigation of a possible violation of federal antitrust laws by Rite Aid Corporation when it acquired certain Brooks Retail Pharmacies in Maine from Maxi Drug, Inc. A Commission statement issued with the vote to close the investigation noted that the Maine Attorney General has entered into a consent decree with Rite Aid that requires the divestiture of pharmacies in three different geographic markets within six months of the date the Commission takes final action. “Because the Commission believes that this relief substantially addresses the anticompetitive concerns revealed in its investigation of the market for cash-paying pharmacy customers, and because the Commission does not wish to prolong the effective date of the State of Maine’s required divestitures, the Commission has determined to take no further action regarding the acquisition,” the statement says. The Commission’s investigation was conducted jointly with the Maine Attorney General’s office. The Commission statement noted that it “remains concerned about the possibility of anticompetitive harm in the market for third-party payor customers and intends to watch this market closely and take appropriate action as necessary.”
Rite Aid is based in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Maxi Drug is a subsidiary of the Canadian corporation, Jean Coutu Group, and is based in Warwick, Rhode Island. Last September, as part of an agreement with the FTC under which Rite Aid could acquire the Brooks pharmacies pending completion of the FTC’s investigation of the transaction, Rite Aid promised to maintain the marketability and viability of both its own and Brooks pharmacies. Rite Aid at that time also signed a broad settlement to preserve the FTC’s ability to protect consumers by restoring any lost competition in the relevant areas.
The Commission vote to close the investigation was 5-0.
Copies of the letter and the statement are available from the FTC’s Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710 FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC’s World Wide Web site at: http://www.ftc.gov
(FTC File No. 951-0120)
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