Surescripts moves to dismiss FTC antitrust charge

Surescripts, a health information network focused on e-prescriptions, filed a motion July 12 to dismiss the FTC's charge from April that the company used illegal tactics to develop monopolies over two e-prescribing markets.

In its motion to dismiss, Surescripts said the FTC's complaint should not be reviewed in federal court due to its various "factual and merit-based errors," according to a Surescripts document. In the lawsuit, the FTC alleged Surescripts monopolized both routing and eligibility e-prescribing markets by using anticompetitive tactics to intentionally prevent e-prescription customers from using additional platforms.

Surescripts cited two factual errors noted in the FTC case that resulted in the inaccurate description of the company's business practices, according to the report. The first error, Surescripts said, is the FTC's claim that Surescripts' contract with EHR vendor Epic includes a loyalty provision that would require a customer to maintain exclusivity to Surescripts throughout the term of the contract. Surescripts denied this allegation and said its contract with Epic "does not and has never had an exclusivity requirement" with Epic.

Another error in the FTC lawsuit, according to Surescripts, is the claim that the company's contracts with EHR vendors include a penalty provision that would discourage EHRs from using more than one network or switch away from Surescripts by requiring vendors to repay loyalty incentives. Surescripts does not require any EHRs to repay incentive payment earned after a contract is terminated, the company stated.

"We continue to be disappointed at the allegations made by the [FTC]," Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton said in a statement emailed to Becker's Hospital Review. "We wholeheartedly share the FTC's focus on lowering healthcare costs, and we have achieved significant reductions with e-prescribing for many years. However, the FTC’s complaint makes significant factual errors about Surescripts’ business and mischaracterizes the economic realities of the e-prescribing market."

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