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FTC Approves Final Order Requiring Alabama Board of Dental Examiners to Stop Unreasonably Excluding Lower Cost Online and Teledentistry Providers from Competing
To settle FTC charges that its actions violated the antitrust laws, the Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama agreed to stop requiring on-site supervision by licensed dentists of alignment scans of prospective patients’ mouths seeking to address misaligned teeth or gaps between teeth. According to the complaint, the board amended a rule to prohibit dental hygienists and other non-dentist practitioners from performing scans inside a patient’s mouth without on-site dentist supervision. The complaint alleges that the Board unreasonably excluded from competition providers of teledentistry-based teeth alignment products and services, and that it did this without adequate active supervision from neutral state officials, in violation of the FTC Act. On Dec. 21, 2021, the FTC announced the final consent agreement in this matter.
6(b) Orders to File Special Report on the Competitive Impact of Supply Chain Disruptions in Consumer Goods
The Federal Trade Commission has sued Facebook, alleging that the company is illegally maintaining its personal social networking monopoly through a years-long course of anticompetitive conduct. The complaint alleges that Facebook has engaged in a systematic strategy—including its 2012 acquisition of up-and-coming rival Instagram, its 2014 acquisition of the mobile messaging app WhatsApp, and the imposition of anticompetitive conditions on software developers—to eliminate threats to its monopoly. The Commission vote to authorize staff to file for a permanent injunction and other equitable relief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia was 3-2. Commissioners Noah Joshua Phillips and Christine S. Wilson voted no.
FTC Approves Final Order Requiring Semiconductor Supplier Broadcom to Cease Its Anticompetitive Conduct
The Federal Trade Commission has issued a complaint charging Broadcom with illegally monopolizing markets for semiconductor components used to deliver television and broadband internet services through exclusive dealing and related conduct. The complaint alleges that Broadcom illegally maintained its power in the three monopolized markets by entering long-term agreements with both OEMs and service providers that prevented these customers from purchasing chips from Broadcom’s competitors. The complaint also alleges that Broadcom leveraged its power in the three monopolized chip markets to extract from customers exclusivity and loyalty commitments for the supply of chips in the five related markets. Under the consent order, Broadcom must stop requiring its customers to source components from Broadcom on an exclusive or near exclusive basis.
Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama; Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Order To Aid Public Comment
Alabama Board of Dental Examiners Agrees to Settle FTC Charges that It Unreasonably Excluded Lower Cost Online and Teledentistry Providers from Competition
Statement of Chair Lina M. Khan Joined by Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter on Actions to Expedite Staff Investigations
Statement of the DOJ Antitrust Division and FTC on Preserving Competition in the Wake of Hurricane Ida
FTC Alleges Facebook Resorted to Illegal Buy-or-Bury Scheme to Crush Competition After String of Failed Attempts to Innovate
Federal Trade Commission Withdraws Remaining Case against AbbVie after Supreme Court Decision Strips Consumers of Relief
The FTC filed a complaint in federal district court in September 2014 charging that AbbVie Inc. and its partner Besins Healthcare Inc. illegally blocking American consumers’ access to lower-cost alternatives to Androgel by filing baseless patent infringement lawsuits against potential generic competitors. In a June 2018 decision, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that AbbVie used sham litigation to illegally maintain its monopoly over the testosterone replacement drug Androgel, and ordered $448 million in monetary relief to consumers who were overcharged for Androgel as a result of AbbVie’s conduct.
In September 2020, the Third Circuit affirmed the district court’s finding of liability on the FTC’s sham litigation claim, and reinstated the reverse payment claim, two important legal victories that protect competition in pharmaceutical markets.
While handing the Commission important legal victories, the Third Circuit reversed the district court’s nearly half-billion dollar monetary judgment for consumers, holding that the FTC is not entitled to disgorgement under 13(b) of the FTC Act. This determination was effectively affirmed by the Supreme Court’s decision in AMG Capital Management v. FTC.
Since the initial filing of the lawsuit, generic AndroGel products have entered the market, so that patients now benefit from competition among multiple suppliers. AbbVie and Teva are also now subject to Commission orders preventing them from entering into certain reverse-payment settlements. On July 30, 2021, the Commission announced that it has withdrawn its reverse-payment claim from federal district court, ending its litigation against AbbVie.
FTC Charges Broadcom with Illegal Monopolization and Orders the Semiconductor Supplier to Cease its Anticompetitive Conduct
Dissenting Remarks of Commissioner Noah Joshua Phillips Regarding the Commission's Issuance of Seven Omnibus Resolution
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