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Mallinckrodt ARD Inc., formerly known as Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and its parent company, Mallinckrodt plc, agreed to pay $100 million to settle charges that they violated the antitrust laws when Questcor acquired the rights to a drug that threatened its monopoly in the U.S. market for adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) drugs. Acthar is a specialty drug used as a treatment for infantile spasms, a rare seizure disorder afflicting infants, as well a drug of last resort used to treat other serious medical conditions. The complaint alleges that, while benefitting from an existing monopoly over the only U.S. ACTH drug, Acthar, Questcor illegally acquired the U.S. rights to develop a competing drug, Synacthen Depot. The acquisition stifled competition by preventing any other company from using the Synacthen assets to develop a synthetic ACTH drug, preserving Questcor’s monopoly and allowing it to maintain extremely high prices for Acthar. In addition to the $100 million monetary payment, the proposed stipulated court order, which must be approved by the federal court, requires that Questcor grant a license to develop Synacthen Depot to treat infantile spasms and nephrotic syndrome to a licensee approved by the Commission.
The American Guild of Organists agreed to eliminate rules that restrict its members from competing for opportunities to perform to settle charges that the guild’s rules restrained competition and harmed consumers in violation of the FTC Act. The guild represents approximately 15,000 member organists and choral directors in 300 chapters in the US and abroad. Under the guild’s code of ethics, if a consumer wished to have someone other than an “incumbent musician” play at a venue for a wedding, funeral or other service, the consumer was required to pay both the incumbent and the consumer’s chosen musician. The code of ethics stated that “members are advised to protect themselves as incumbents” through contracts that secure fees even if they don’t perform. The guild also developed and publicized compensation schedules and formulas, and instructed its chapters and members to develop and use regionally applicable versions to determine charges for their services. The Commission's consent order requires the American Guild of Organists to stop restraining its members from soliciting work as musicians, and to stop issuing compensation schedules, guidance, or model contract provisions for members to use to determine their compensation. The guild must implement an antitrust compliance program, and is required under the order to stop recognizing chapters that fail to certify their compliance with the order’s provisions.
OFTACOOP, a Puerto Rico ophthalmologist cooperative, has agreed to settle FTC charges that its actions harmed competition. The complaint charges that OFTACOOP – also known as Cooperativa de Médico Oftalmólogos de Puerto Rico – unlawfully orchestrated an agreement among competing ophthalmologists to refuse to deal with a health plan, MCS Advantage, Inc., and its network administrator, Eye Management of Puerto Rico, LLC. OFTACOOP’s concerted refusal to deal forced MCS to abandon its plan to engage Eye Management to create a lower-cost network of ophthalmologists. MCS was also forced to maintain its then-current reimbursement rates paid to ophthalmologists. According to the complaint, OFTACOOP restrained competition without any justification, in violation of federal antitrust law. The proposed consent order prohibits OFTACOOP from entering into or facilitating agreements between or among ophthalmologists (1) to refuse to deal, or threaten to refuse to deal, with any payor regarding any term, including price terms, or (2) not to deal individually with any payor, or not to deal with any payor other than through OFTACOOP. The order also prohibits information exchanges to facilitate any prohibited conduct, and it bars any attempts to engage in any prohibited conduct. OFTACOOP is also barred from encouraging, suggesting, advising, pressuring, inducing, or trying to induce anyone to engage in any prohibited conduct.
Mallinckrodt Will Pay $100 Million to Settle FTC, State Charges It Illegally Maintained its Monopoly of Specialty Drug Used to Treat Infants
Fortiline, LLC, a company that distributes ductile iron pipe, fittings and accessories throughout much of the United States, agreed to settle charges that it violated federal antitrust law by inviting a competitor to raise and fix prices. This is the first case where the FTC has challenged an invitation to collude by a firm that is both a direct competitor with, and a distributor for, the invitee. According to an administrative complaint filed by the FTC, on two occasions in 2010, Fortiline invited a competing firm, which mainly manufactures ductile iron pipe but also engaged in direct sales to contractors, to collude on pricing in North Carolina and most of Virginia. In some areas, Fortiline competes with this firm – identified in the complaint as “Manufacturer A” – by distributing ductile iron pipe (“DIP”) products made by another DIP manufacturer, identified as “Manufacturer B.” In other areas, Fortiline distributes the product of Manufacturer A. The FTC’s complaint alleges that on two occasions when Fortiline was competing with Manufacturer A, Fortiline communicated an invitation to collude on DIP pricing.The proposed consent order prohibits Fortiline from entering into, attempting to enter into, or inviting any agreement with any competitor to raise or fix prices, divide markets, or allocate customers.
FTC and DOJ Seek Views on Proposed Update of the Antitrust Guidelines for Licensing of Intellectual Property
FTC Sues 1-800 Contacts, Charging that It Harms Competition in Online Search Advertising Auctions and Restricts Truthful Advertising to Consumers
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