Acting Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter released the Commission’s 2020 Annual Highlights today, emphasizing the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers and promote competition.
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the FTC remained dedicated to protecting consumers and promoting competition,” Slaughter said. “The FTC acted quickly to take down a number of illegal COVID-related scams, sued to block or unwind an unprecedented number of mergers, and took a number of other strong enforcement actions across its missions.”
The Highlights capture the Commission’s prompt response to the pandemic and bad actors who try to exploit it to take advantage of consumers. The FTC has taken action to halt false and deceptive claims related to supposed treatments for COVID-19. The agency has sued companies that failed to deliver on promises to quickly ship critical personal protective equipment, and companies that lured consumers into income scams. The FTC also has sent out hundreds of blog posts to educate consumers about COVID-19 scams and remind businesses about their responsibilities regarding honest advertising.
The Highlights also note that the agency continued to promote competition by challenging anticompetitive mergers and business conduct that harms consumers. As part of its active merger enforcement agenda, the Commission authorized staff to block or unwind seven mergers, and another eleven deals were abandoned as a result of our investigations and in the face of staff recommendations to block them. The Commission also continued to build on its track record of aggressive and innovative non-merger antitrust enforcement, bringing two important monopolization cases last year. The FTC charged Martin Shkreli and Kevin Mulleady along with the companies they ran with using anticompetitive tactics to maintain a monopoly and protect a 4000 percent price increase on a life-saving drug. The Commission, along with 48 state and territorial enforcers, brought a groundbreaking monopolization case against Facebook for illegally maintaining its personal social networking monopoly, and seeks to unwind Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp.
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