Advocacy Filings

When government bodies and other organizations consider cases or policy decisions that affect consumers or competition, the FTC may offer insight and expertise to decision makers by filing an advocacy letter. To find a specific filing, use the filters on this page.

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Joint Comment of the Federal Trade Commission Staff and the Antitrust Division to North Carolina State Senator Bill Cook on North Carolina HB 436 Concerning Online Legal Forms and the Practice of Law

Matter Number:

V160012

FTC staff and the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division submitted a joint comment, in response to a request from North Carolina State Senator Bill Cook, on the impact of interactive websites for generating legal forms on competition and consumers.  North Carolina House Bill 436 would exclude from the statutory definition of the practice of law the operation of a website that generates legal documents based on consumer responses to questions presented by interactive software, provided certain conditions are satisfied.  The comments encourage the North Carolina General Assembly to consider the benefits of interactive websites for consumers and competition in evaluating HB 436, and also recognize that such products may raise legitimate consumer protection issues.

Comment Filed by Jessica Rich on Privacy Enforcement Implications of FCC’s Proposed Set-Top Box Rulemaking

Matter Number:

P165403

Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Jessica Rich filed a comment today with the Federal Communications Commission regarding the FCC’s proposed rulemaking to expand the commercial availability of television set-top boxes for consumers.

FTC Staff Comment to the Kentucky House of Representatives Regarding House Bill 77, Which Would Recognize and Regulate Denturists

Matter Number:

V160008

FTC staff submitted a comment, in response to a request from Kentucky State Representative Tom Burch, on the competitive implications of proposed legislation that would license and regulate denturists within Kentucky. The comment recommended that the legislature consider the potential benefits of enhanced competition among oral health care professionals, such as improved access to care, more cost-effective treatment, and the development of more effective care delivery models that may offer greater choice to health care consumers. The comment encouraged the legislature to “maintain only those scope of practice limitations necessary to ensure patient health and safety.”

FTC Staff Comment to the Alaska State Legislature Regarding Telehealth Provisions In Senate Bill 74, Which Would Allow Licensed Alaska Physicians Located Out-of-State To Provide Telehealth Services

Matter Number:

V160009

FTC staff submitted a comment, as public testimony, regarding proposed legislation that would allow licensed Alaska physicians located out-of-state to provide telehealth services in the same manner as in-state physicians. The comment noted that eliminating the in-state requirement appeared to be a procompetitive improvement in the law. The change likely would expand the supply of telehealth providers, promote competition, and increase access to safe and cost-effective care. It could also reduce transportation costs for Alaska patients and providers.

FTC Staff Comment to the West Virginia House of Delegates Regarding SB 597 and the Competitive Implications of Provisions Regarding "Cooperative Agreements" Between -- and Possible Exemptions From the Federal Antitrust Laws For -- Health Care Providers

Matter Number:

V160007

FTC staff submitted a comment, in response to a request from West Virginia State Delegate Mike Pushkin, on the competitive impact of provisions in proposed legislation that would provide for “cooperative agreements” between health care providers, and provisions purporting to confer “exemptions” from federal antitrust laws on certain health care providers. According to the comment, the bill incorrectly assumed that the antitrust laws prohibit efficient health care mergers, acquisitions, and collaborations. Given that federal and state antitrust laws already permit cooperative agreements that are likely to benefit consumers, the purported antitrust exemption would have no procompetitive application. FTC staff expressed concern “that this legislation is likely to foster mergers and conduct that are anticompetitive, inconsistent with federal antitrust law and policy, and liable to cause serious harm to West Virginia health care consumers.”

FTC and USDOJ Joint Comment to the Massachusetts House of Representatives Regarding House Bill 1973 to Allow Non-Surgical Treatment of Glaucoma by Optometrists

Matter Number:

V160006

The FTC and DOJ Antitrust Division jointly submitted a statement, in response to a request by Massachusetts State Representative Bradley H. Jones, encouraging the Massachusetts legislature to consider expanding the services that optometrists can provide to glaucoma patients, subject to certain training and referral requirements, consistent with practice in other states. The statement described the potential benefits to patients of enhanced competition among glaucoma care providers, including greater access to timely and cost-competitive care, noting that unnecessarily broad scope of practice restrictions “can impose significant competitive costs on health care consumers and other payors.” The statement recommended that the legislature restrict optometrists’ ability to treat glaucoma only to the extent necessary to ensure patient health and safety.

FTC Staff Comment to the Senate of West Virginia Concerning the Competitive Impact of WV Senate Bill 516 on the Regulation of Certain Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)

Matter Number:

V160005

FTC staff submitted a comment, in response to a request from West Virginia State Senator Kent Leonhardt, on the competitive impact of a legislative proposal to modify the supervision requirements imposed on West Virginia APRNs. The bill would permit some APRNs, under limited conditions, to write prescriptions without a formal agreement with a particular supervising physician. The bill would also place the regulation of certain APRNs under the authority of the West Virginia Board of Medicine or Board of Osteopathy. Although the comment noted potential patient benefits if APRNs were able to engage in some independent prescribing, the comment emphasized that undue regulatory restrictions on APRN practice, including mandatory physician oversight, can impose significant competitive costs on patients and third-party payors, and may frustrate the development of innovative and effective models of team-based health care. The comment also noted that because the bill “would assign regulatory authority over APRN prescribing to the Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy, it raises concerns about potential biases and conflicts of interest.” The comment urged the legislature to consider whether these proposed requirements are necessary to assure patient safety, noting that removing unnecessary and burdensome requirements may benefit West Virginia consumers by increasing competition among health care providers.

FTC Staff Comment to Georgia State Senator Valencia Seay Concerning Georgia House Bill 684

Matter Number:

V160004

FTC staff submitted a comment, in response to a request from Georgia State Senator Valencia Seay, regarding proposed legislation that would broaden the types of settings under which Georgia dental hygienists are allowed to provide preventive care without direct on-site supervision by a dentist, thereby aligning Georgia’s supervision requirements with those in most other states. Direct supervision requirements may leave dental hygienists unable to provide care in locations where dentists are scarce or unavailable. The comment said that fewer restrictions on dental hygienists likely would enhance competition in the provision of preventive dental care services and thereby benefit Georgia consumers, particularly underserved populations with limited access to preventive care.

Joint Statement of the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice on Certificate-of-Need Laws and South Carolina House Bill 3250

Matter Number:

V160003

The FTC and DOJ Antitrust Division jointly submitted a statement, in response to a request by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, regarding the competitive implications of CON laws and a legislative proposal that ultimately would repeal South Carolina’s CON laws. The statement explained that the agencies historically have urged states to consider repeal or reform of their CON laws because they can prevent the efficient functioning of health care markets, and thus can harm consumers. As the statement described, CON laws create barriers to expansion, limit consumer choice, and stifle innovation. They can also deny consumers the benefit of an effective remedy for antitrust violations and can facilitate anticompetitive agreements. In addition, incumbent providers seeking to thwart or delay entry by new competitors may use CON laws to that end. Arguments favoring CON laws have not been supported by the evidence, the statement noted.

FTC Staff Reply Comment Before the State of New York Public Service Commission in the Reforming the Energy Vision Proceeding, Concerning the NY PSC Staff White Paper on Ratemaking and Utility Business Models

Matter Number:

V140012

Docket Number:

14-M-0101

FTC staff submitted a comment in the New York State Public Service Commission’s (NY PSC’s) Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding regarding that agency’s “Staff White Paper on Ratemaking and Utility Business Models.” The comment suggests that the White Paper, which describes the REV’s objectives only in terms of lower prices or lower power bills, should also focus on improvements to electric system efficiency and on increases in the value that customers derive from customized electricity services. The comment encourages the NY PSC to consider concerns about potential cross-subsidization by distribution utilities and unfair competition in services that independent firms provide to DER investors, owners, and organizers. It also suggests adjustments to some of the distribution utilities’ financial incentives in order to improve customer benefits and avoid harm to competition and efficiency.

FTC Staff Comment to South Carolina Representative Jenny A. Horne regarding House Bill 3508 and 3078 on Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Regulations

Matter Number:

V160000

FTC staff submitted a comment, in response to a request from South Carolina State Representative Jenny A. Horne, on the competitive impact of legislative proposals to modify the supervision requirements imposed on South Carolina APRNs. One bill would impose additional supervision requirements, while another would remove some supervision requirements. The comment stated that undue regulatory restrictions on APRN practice can impose significant competitive costs on patients and third-party payors, and may frustrate the development of innovative and effective models of team-based health care. FTC staff urged the legislature to avoid restrictions on APRN practice that are not narrowly tailored to address well-founded patient safety concerns and to consider the potential benefits of enhanced competition by APRNs, including lower costs, additional innovation, and improved access to health care.

FTC Staff Comment Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration, In Response to FDA's Request For Comments on Its Guidance for Industry on the “Nonproprietary Naming of Biological Products; Draft Guidance for Industry; Availability”

Matter Number:

P131208

Docket Number:

FDA-2013-D-1543 [80 Fed. Reg. 52296 (Aug. 28, 2015)]

FTC staff submitted a comment to the FDA, in response to the FDA’s request for comment on its draft guidance addressing nonproprietary names for biological products. The comment expressed concern that the FDA draft guidance might hinder competition, and recommended that the agency consider alternatives. In particular, the comment suggested that the FDA’s proposal to add a new, random suffix to the nonproprietary name of each biological product might cause physicians to believe mistakenly that the products necessarily have clinically meaningful differences, potentially resulting in reduced price competition in biologic drug markets, as well as unnecessary costs and conflicts with efforts toward global naming harmonization. The comment suggested alternatives that would have less impact on competition but could still achieve the FDA’s goals of improving pharmacovigilance, minimizing inadvertent substitution of biological products that the FDA has not determined to be interchangeable, and improving the reporting of adverse events involving biologics.

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