Once Upon a Time in Federal CourtOn January 14, so called Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli was found personally liable for antitrust claims brought by the FTC and 7 State AGs. His company Vyera raised the price of medication Daraprim by 4000% after it purchased the drug. The parasitic brain infection the drug treats is especially deadly and according to doctors could only be treated with Daraprim. Shkreli then worked to prevent manufacturers from successfully competing in the generic drug market.

Although Shkreli’s prison sentence began in 2017, the court said he continued to exert his influence over the company, which in December agreed to pay $40 million for its part. The former CEO is now banned from the pharmaceutical industry for life. While a lifetime ban may seem like an extreme remedy, be mindful that State AGs don’t reserve this punishment for those in prison, and have imposed industry bans in other actions and industries. Shkreli has also been ordered to pay disgorgement to the states in $64.6 million. As part of his criminal judgment, he had already lost several assets including his prized Wu-Tang Clan album, a source inspiration for General James’ words of condemnation in her victory press release. Another executive Kevin Mulleady also settled, paying $10 million.

State AGs have been extremely active in the pharmaceutical antitrust space in recent years, including when it comes to generic drug pricing. Specifically, State AGs have alleged that generic drug manufacturers of topical products conspired to inflate prices and reduce competition.  Most of the State AGs have been investigating the practice since 2016, with defendants now numbering in the dozens in their 3rd Amended Complaint. The states are caught up in an MDL, but their bellwether trial on dermatology treatments will be the first up.
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Commissioners Cut Procedures, Rescind Policy, Empower Staff, Target Tech

With an unprecedented attack on policies the Federal Trade Commission had long embraced, the new majority of Democratic Commissioners revealed a bold enforcement agenda that would circumvent Supreme Court decisions and avoid Congressional limits.

It was a meeting like none the Federal Trade Commission has ever held. On one week’s notice, the Commission adopted new rules to impose civil penalties on substandard Made-in-USA claims, removed judges and safeguards from rulemaking proceedings, rescinded its 2015 enforcement policy statement on unfair methods of competition, and granted staff more authority to issue subpoenas and civil investigative demands. The vote on every issue followed party lines. Republican Commissioners, Noah Phillips and Christine Wilson, voted against all, and the Democratic Commissioners, Chopra, Khan, and Slaughter, rejected all amendments. Chair Khan announced that public meetings will become regular events at the FTC.
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The Decision

1-800-Contacts is one of the largest sellers of contacts online.  One of the principal ways consumers shop for contacts is through key word searches.  In the past, certain 1-800-Contacts competitors purchased the keyword “1-800-Contacts.”  That would place their advertisements at the top of the list of results.  1-800-Contacts sued these companies for trademark

Prospects Rise for Antitrust and Data LegislationDisplaying bipartisanship seldom seen on Capitol Hill, the Antitrust Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing yesterday on Reviving Competition in which Democrats and Republicans appeared to agree on crucial issues.[1] Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline and Ranking Member Ken Buck echoed one another on the need for reforms, while many members of

Bill MacLeod and other panelists representing antitrust and consumer protection bureaus from across the country discussed recent enforcement activities and the ongoing missions of state enforcement agencies during the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section Virtual Spring Meeting.

Watch the replay here.

Ad Law Access Podcast

Yesterday, Christine Wilson was sworn in as FTC Commissioner. Commissioner Wilson – the fifth and final Trump appointee – joins the FTC from Delta Airlines and assumes former Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen’s seat. Commissioner Ohlhausen announced her departure on Tuesday – the day her term ended, concluding over six years of service as Commissioner, including a

On November 1, 2017 the House Antitrust Law Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss the role of federal agencies in preserving an open Internet.

The core question discussed at the hearing was whether current antitrust law is sufficient to ensure net neutrality absent FCC rules. The panelists—including FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen and Commissioner Terrell McSweeney; former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell; and Michael Romano, NTCA Senior Vice President of Industry Affairs and Business Development—and committee members were generally divided down party lines, with Republicans arguing that FCC rules were both unnecessary and counterproductive and Democrats arguing that rules were necessary to ensure an open Internet, free expression, and innovation.

Continue Reading House Antitrust Subcommittee Explores the Role of Antitrust Law in Net Neutrality

After months of speculation among the consumer protection and antitrust bars, Trump announced today his intention to nominate former Director of the Bureau of Competition and current Paul Weiss partner Joseph Simons as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission.  Trump also announced his plan to nominate Rohit Chopra, currently a senior fellow at the Consumer