DOJ, FTC Issue Antitrust Clarifications For Coronavirus-Related Businesses Collaborations

Answering the challenges presented by the spread of COVID-19 pandemic will likely require cooperation between federal, state and local governments, and among private businesses at an unprecedented scale. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued a joint statement on the ways companies, including competitors, can engage in procompetitive collaboration to protect Americans’ health and safety that does not violate antitrust laws.

The DOJ’s Antitrust Division and the FTC have noted, while they are accelerating their review and filing processes, they recognize that businesses may need to act immediately to address the pandemic and that many types of collaborative activities designed to improve the health and safety response to the pandemic would be consistent with antitrust laws.

The statement identifies several areas where benefits can work together without running afoul of the laws, including collaboration on research and development, sharing technical know-how, and most joint purchasing arrangements among health care providers, such as those designed to increase the efficiency of procurement and reduce transaction costs.

The agencies’ guidance suggests that collaborations are more likely permissible when they are “limited in duration,” “necessary to assist patients, consumers, and communities affected by COVID-19,” and “a necessary response to exigent circumstances” that might provide “products or services that might not be available otherwise.”

For the DOJ and FTC’s full release, click here.

filed under March 2020
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