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

Antitrust Byte

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 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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For additional information about the issues discussed above, or if you have any other antitrust concerns, please contact the Epstein Becker Green attorney who regularly handles your legal matters, or one of the authors of this Antitrust Byte:

E. John Steren
Member of the Firm
[email protected]

Patricia Wagner
General Counsel / Chief Privacy Officer
[email protected]