August 4, 2020

Volume X, Number 217

August 03, 2020

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DOJ and FTC Announce Expedited Review Process for COVID-19 Requests

On March 24, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that they would expedite antitrust guidance for COVID-19 public health projects. In the agencies’ joint statement, they emphasized that they are committed to providing “expeditious guidance” to individuals and organizations responding to the COVID-19 national emergency.

Recognizing that under the current processes (for the FTC, the Advisory Opinion Process, and for the DOJ, the Business Review Process) the respective agency can take months to provide guidance, both agencies have pledged to accelerate their process for all COVID-19-related requests. In addition, the agencies are committed to reviewing any request that addresses public health and safety concerns within “seven calendar days.” However, as always, the timing is contingent on the reviewing agency having received all of the necessary information to review the proposed initiative. Each agency has a dedicated email address to be used for the COVID-19-related requests.

In addition, understanding the necessity of organizations to act immediately in some circumstances, the agencies further provided reminders of the types of collaborations that would “improve the health and safety response to the pandemic” and therefore “be consistent with the antitrust laws” so that a request for review would not be necessary.

While the agencies noted that they “will also account for exigent circumstances in evaluating efforts to address the spread of COVID-19 and its aftermath,” they warn against those who may try to use COVID-19 as an “opportunity to subvert competition or prey on vulnerable Americans.”

©2020 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 100


About this Author

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

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.

Patricia M. Wagner, Epstein becker green, health care, life sciences

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 Justice, and state antitrust authorities 

Advising clients on issues related HIPAA Privacy and security

Advising clients on issues related to state licensure and regulatory requirements