The U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday announced that it is charging Surescripts with illegal monopolization of the market for e-prescriptions. 

WHY IT MATTERS

“The FTC alleges that Surescripts intentionally set out to keep e-prescription routing and eligibility customers on both sides of each market from using additional platforms (a practice known as multihoming) using anticompetitive exclusivity agreements, threats, and other exclusionary tactics,” the FTC explained in a statement. “Among other things, the FTC alleges that Surescripts took steps to increase the costs of routing and eligibility multihoming through loyalty and exclusivity contracts.”  

FTC said it aims to achieve three things with the lawsuit: to undo Surescripts competitive methods and prevent them from happening again in the future, to restore competition in the marketplace and to provide “monetary redress to consumers.”

ON THE RECORD

“For the past decade, Surescripts has used a series of anticompetitive contracts throughout the e-prescribing industry to eliminate competition and keep out competitors,” said Bureau of Competition Director Bruce Hoffman. “Surescripts’s illegal contracts denied customers and, ultimately, patients, the benefits of competition – including lower prices, increased output, thriving innovation, higher quality, and more customer choice. Through this litigation, we hope to eliminate the anticompetitive conduct, open the relevant markets to competition, and redress the harm that Surescripts’s conduct has caused.”

THE BIGGER TREND

In its complaint, the FTC cited the case against SureScripts as the latest example of its work to end anticompetitive tactics that harm consumers and ultimately raise the cost of care.

The agency pointed to settlements with Teva Pharmaceuticals and Impax Laboratories over reverse-payment patent settlements as well as the court order that AbbVie pay $448 million to people who overpaid for its Androgel testosterone replacement drug “because of AbbVie’s illegal tactics to maintain its monopoly over the drug.”

Twitter: @SullyHIT
Email the writer: tom.sullivan@himssmedia.com

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication. 





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