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Insights

tomorrows global business

David Shine

March 06, 2017

By Paul Hastings Professional

David Shine

Consolidation in the U.S. healthcare/life sciences space has continued apace through most of 2016.

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The first is uncertainty regarding antitrust regulation. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the regulatory agency that reviews healthcare and life sciences transactions. The FTC has been intensifying its scrutiny over the past couple of years and is unlikely to lighten its focus. The reasons for this increased scrutiny are: (1) political pressures to provide consumers with greater protection against price increases, (2) the fact that several seats on the FTC are unfilled and the current members are all more “hawkish” on enforcement, and (3) a general toughening of enforcement by the Department of Justice (the other antitrust regulatory agency) has upped the overall enforcement climate for the FTC.

The second is uncertainty regarding healthcare regulation. The Affordable Care Act (known informally as Obamacare) has been stumbling recently, with several big healthcare providers either leaving the regime or threatening to. As a result, there is a low rumble in Washington about the need to make changes to the Act. However, the nature and extent of any potential changes are unclear. The upcoming U.S. presidential campaign has inevitably created a period of uncertainty until the new administration is established and its policies and lead personnel are in place.