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The Wall Street Journal: Federal Trade Commission to consider tougher line on pharmaceutical mergers

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WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday announced plans to reconsider its approach to scrutinizing pharmaceutical mergers, with an eye toward taking a more aggressive stance against drug-company deals that may harm competition.

The initiative, spurred by the FTC’s acting Democratic chairwoman, Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, signals what could be a tougher road ahead for the industry during the Biden administration.

“Given the high volume of pharmaceutical mergers in recent years, amid skyrocketing drug prices and ongoing concerns about anticompetitive conduct in the industry, it is imperative that we rethink our approach toward pharmaceutical merger review,” Ms. Slaughter said.

The FTC is starting a working group that will take a broader look at how pharmaceutical deals affect the marketplace. Other participants include the Justice Department’s antitrust division, state attorneys general and competition officials from Canada, the U.K. and Europe, the FTC said.

An expanded version of this article appears on WSJ.com.

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