Competition in health care markets benefits consumers because it helps contain costs, improve quality, and encourage innovation. The Federal Trade Commission's job as a law enforcer is to stop firms from engaging in anticompetitive conduct that harms consumers. The agency also provides guidance to market participants -- including physicians and other health professionals, hospitals and other institutional providers, pharmaceutical companies and other sellers of health care products, and insurers -- to help them comply with the nation's antitrust laws.
Additionally, the Commission and its staff undertake a variety of other activities to promote competition in health care. One key area is research and reports on competition issues in health care and, in the past, has included such matters as: empirical studies of generic drug entry, contact lens sales, and mail order pharmacies; economic analyses of the effects of mergers involving non-profit hospitals and of state "any willing provider" laws; and a series of public hearings in 2003 on a wide range of issues in health care.
Another broad area of activity is competition advocacy. Aside from speeches to market participants, the FTC and its staff advise federal and state governmental bodies on competition issues in health care, in an effort to provide policymakers with a sound basis for assessing the implications for competition and consumers of proposed legislative or regulatory actions.
This web site provides information about the full range of FTC activities to protect and promote competition in health care markets.
Core Health Care Competition Documents
- Statements of Antitrust Enforcement Policy in Health Care [PDF]
- Statement of Antitrust Enforcement Policy Regarding Accountable Care Organizations
- Pharmaceutical Agreement Filing Requirements
- Frequently Asked Questions About Filing Pharmaceutical Agreements [PDF]
- Overview of FTC Actions in Health Care Services and Products [PDF]
- Overview of FTC Actions in Pharmaceutical Products and Distribution [PDF]
- Topic and Yearly Indices of Health Care Antitrust Advisory Opinions by Commission and Staff [PDF]
Health Care Initiatives
- Improving Health Care: A Dose of Competition (2003 Hearings and July 2004 Report)
- Accountable Care Organizations
- Pharmaceutical Agreement Filings
- Advisory Opinion Process (Health Care) [PDF]