FTC Approves Final Order Preserving Competition in U.S. Markets for Medical Devices Used in Cardiac and Vascular Catheterization

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Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that Abbott Laboratories’ $25 billion acquisition of St. Jude Medical, Inc. would likely be anticompetitive.

First announced in December 2016, the FTC’s complaint alleged that as proposed, the acquisition would likely harm competition in the U.S. markets for vascular closure devices – which are used to close holes in arteries from the insertion of catheters – and for “steerable” sheaths, which are used to guide catheters for treating heart arrhythmias.

The order required the parties to divest to Tokyo-based medical device maker Terumo Corporation all rights and assets related to St. Jude’s vascular closure device business and Abbott’s steerable sheath business, and to help Terumo establish manufacturing capabilities for these products.

Abbott also is required to notify the FTC if it intends to acquire lesion-assessing ablation catheter assets from Advanced Cardiac Therapeutics, known as ACT. Abbott and ACT have formed a partnership to develop these catheters. Currently, only St. Jude and one other company provide lesion-assessing ablation catheters in the United States. After the acquisition of St. Jude, if Abbott acquired lesion-assessing ablation catheter assets from ACT, it could eliminate additional competition that would result from an independent ACT.

The Commission vote approving the final order was 2-0. (FTC File No. 161 0126; the staff contact is Jordan Andrew, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-3678.)

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about how competition benefits consumers or file an antitrust complaint. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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Betsy Lordan
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