DOJ pulls 3 healthcare policy statements

The Justice Department withdrew three antitrust policy statements pertaining to healthcare issued between 1993 and 2011, deeming the positions "outdated," according to a Feb. 3 agency news release.  

The withdrawn policy statements, jointly issued by the DOJ and Federal Trade Commission, are well known and often referenced for their guidance on information sharing. They are:

  • Department of Justice and FTC Antitrust Enforcement Policy Statements in the Health Care Area (Sept. 15, 1993)
  • Statements of Antitrust Enforcement Policy in Health Care (Aug. 1, 1996)
  • Statement of Antitrust Enforcement Policy Regarding Accountable Care Organizations Participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (Oct. 20, 2011)

Policy statements are non-binding and do not set legal obligations. Rather, they are issued to explain how the agencies apply competition and consumer protection laws in a range of areas.

The DOJ said the healthcare landscape has changed significantly since the statements were issued. "As a result, the statements are overly permissive on certain subjects, such as information sharing, and no longer serve their intended purposes of providing encompassing guidance to the public on relevant healthcare competition issues in today's environment," the agency said in its news release.

"The healthcare industry has changed a lot since 1993, and the withdrawal of that era's out of date guidance is long overdue," Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division said in the release. "The Antitrust Division will continue to work to ensure that its enforcement efforts reflect modern market realities."

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