February 24, 2021

Volume XI, Number 55

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Announced Changes at the Antitrust Division May Presage Greater Enforcement in Health Care

On August 20, 2020, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced internal changes designed for more “vigilant enforcement.” Among other changes, DOJ is creating the Office of Decree Enforcement and Compliance. The creation of this new office reinforces statements made by Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim to the effect that settlement decrees and related agreements are intended to serve as tools for “effective enforcement, rather than regulation.”

In addition, DOJ created a Civil Conduct Task Force to focus on “non-merger civil enforcement” of the antitrust laws and announced the realignment of certain responsibilities within the Antitrust Division’s six civil sections. This realignment is an apparent recognition “that technology has reshaped the competitive landscape in several industries that the Antitrust Division analyzes on a regular basis.”

Although enforcement in the health care industry was not specifically mentioned in this recent notice, activities involving health care entities will clearly fall within the domain of both the Office of the Decree Enforcement and Compliance, and the Civil Conduct Task Force. Moreover, after recently filing suit to block a partial acquisition of a hospital, Mr. Delrahim was quoted as saying that “[p]reserving competition in the healthcare markets is a priority of the Department of Justice because of its importance on the health and well-being of Americans.”

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©2020 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 240
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About this Author

John Steren, Epstein Becker Law Firm, Health Care Litigation Attorney
Member

E. John Steren is a Member of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences and Litigation & Business Disputes practices, in the Washington, DC, office of Epstein Becker Green. Mr. Steren devotes a significant portion of his practice to helping health care organizations manage the antitrust risks of joint ventures and other business arrangements. He also focuses his practice on other complex commercial and civil litigation matters.

202-861-1825
Patricia M. Wagner, Epstein becker green, health care, life sciences
Member

PATRICIA M. WAGNER is a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences and Litigation practices, in the firm's Washington, DC, office. In 2014, Ms. Wagner was selected to the Washington DC Super Lawyers list in the area of Health Care.

Ms. Wagner's experience includes the following:

Advising clients on a variety of matters related to federal and state antitrust issues 

Representing clients in antitrust matters in front of the Federal Trade Commission and the United States Department of...

202-861-4182
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