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Private equity investment in health care the focus of upcoming FTC public workshop

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Generic drug pricing practices also a target for Federal Trade Commission, HHS.

federal trade commission ftc book: © Jon - stock.adobe.com

© Jon - stock.adobe.com

Private equity investment in health care will be the focus of a public discussion next month by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

“Private Capital, Public Impact: An FTC Workshop on Private Equity in Health Care,” will examine how investors in health care markets may be affecting quality of care and economic competition.

“The FTC is dedicated to fostering competition in health care markets. In recent years, the Commission has become increasingly concerned about the effects of private equity investment in this sector,” the FTC’s announcement said.

“We are convening a workshop bringing together experts and affected individuals to discuss their insights,” the announcement said. “The workshop will consist of several panels and feature remarks from government officials, academics, economists, and practitioners, as well as members of the public who have experienced, first-hand, the effects of private equity investment in the health care system.”

FTC Chair Lina M. Khan and Commissioners Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Alvaro Bedoya said they will provide remarks during the workshop. It is scheduled 12:30 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, March, 5. The event will be webcast and recorded, with a link to view it posted on the event page, and is open to the public.

Until then, the FTC maintains online archives about its actions involving “Health Care Competition” and “Competition in the Health Care Marketplace.”

Generic drug action

Meanwhile, this month the FTC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services jointly issued a request for information “to understand how the practices of two types of pharmaceutical drug middlemen groups – group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and drug wholesalers – may be contributing to generic drug shortages.”

FTC’s announcement said the agency staff hope to uncover root causes of drug pricing and availability of pharmaceutical. FTC is seeking public comment on market concentration and contracting prices of GPOs and drug wholesalers, intermediaries who serve as go-betweens with drug makers and distributors on one side, and hospitals, physicians, nursing homes and home health agencies on the other.

“For years Americans have faced acute shortages of critical drugs, from chemotherapy to antibiotics, endangering patients,” Khan said in the FTC’s announcement. “Our inquiry requests information on the factors driving these shortages and scrutinizes the practices of opaque drug middlemen. We look forward to public input as we assess how enforcers and policymakers can best address chronic drug shortages and promote a resilient drug supply chain.”

The 60-day public comment period started Feb. 14. Comments can be submitted at Regulations.gov.

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