Antitrust Law Daily Health care products distributor’s collaborative efforts to fight COVID-19 get U.S. okay
Monday, April 20, 2020

Health care products distributor’s collaborative efforts to fight COVID-19 get U.S. okay

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

Second expedited business review letter clears collaborative efforts of AmerisourceBergen regarding distribution of medications and other healthcare supplies to treat COVID-19 patients.

The Department of Justice has no present intention to challenge collaborative efforts of AmerisourceBergen Corporation to identify global supply opportunities, ensure product quality, and facilitate product distribution of medications and other healthcare supplies to treat COVID-19 patients. The Justice Department expressed its views in its second expedited business review letter pursuant to its temporary review procedure responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like the Justice Department’s earlier letter to medical supply distributors regarding collaboration on manufacturing, sourcing, and distributing personal-protective equipment (PPE) and coronavirus-treatment-related medication, this latest letter notes that the conduct is part of the emergency response developed and led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to address urgent supply needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.The Justice Department pointed out that the response to AmerisourceBergen leverages the same analytical framework as the conduct significantly overlaps with the conduct described in the prior request letter.

AmerisourceBergen is working with both federal and private partners to ensure that needed medications and healthcare supplies move quickly and efficiently to areas of greatest need during the COVID-19 crisis. Among other things, AmerisourceBergen is involved in the distribution of hydroxychloroquine from the Strategic National Stockpile to health care providers in areas of greatest need. AmerisourceBergen also is gathering data for FEMA to enable the agency to identify the medications critical to combating the pandemic.

AmerisourceBergen proposes to collaborate with and at the direction of the U.S. government to:

  1. help FEMA, HHS, and foreign governments address bottlenecks with our existing foreign suppliers;
  2. help FEMA and HHS identify and qualify new sources of supply;
  3. help FEMA and HHS identify and monitor areas of increased demand for, and potential shortages of, medications and other healthcare supplies;
  4. help expedite distribution of medications and other healthcare supplies, including medications from the Strategic National Stockpile, to FEMA-designated COVID19 hotspots;
  5. provide FEMA and HHS with data necessary to do the above;
  6. provide FEMA and HHS with claims data and data otherwise requested by FEMA; and
  7. engage in related activities to source and distribute medications and other healthcare supplies as directed by FEMA, HHS, or additional government agencies.

Safeguards.AmerisourceBergen has committed to the same safeguards as the PPE distributors under the earlier business review letter.For instance, AmerisourceBergen must not use any collaboration to increase prices, reduce output, reduce quality, or otherwise engage in COVID-19 profiteering. Upon resolution of the COVID-19-related disruptions and the disbanding of the related U.S. government response initiatives, AmerisourceBergen and otherdistributors must formally dissolve their competitor collaboration and immediately notify the Department, in writing.

Companies: AmerisourceBergen Corp.

MainStory: TopStory Antitrust AntitrustDivisionNews GCNNews Covid19

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