FTC makes strides to boost competition and hold PBMs accountable

NCPA April 24, 2024

Two pieces of news about the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that will affect the health care community. Chair Lina Khan revealed this week that an update into the agency’s investigation of pharmacy benefit managers will be released in the coming months, far sooner than planned, bowing to pressure from Congress and taking into account NCPA’s tireless advocacy efforts. (In March, NCPA co-hosted a Small Business Rising Coalition event with Khan, and earlier this month, Khan participated in a roundtable of community pharmacists in Pennsylvania co-hosted by NCPA—among the first organizations to cheer the FTC when it launched its inquiry into insurer PBM practices in 2022.) The second piece of news will have a broader impact on the health care industry. On Tuesday, the FTC finalized a rule banning noncompete agreements for all American workers—agreements that hospitals have widely used for years to retain their physicians and prevent them from bouncing to another hospital. “Noncompete clauses keep wages low, suppress new ideas, and rob the American economy of dynamism, including from the more than 8,500 new startups that would be created a year once non-competes are banned,” said Khan in an FTC press release. “The FTC’s final rule to ban non-competes will ensure Americans have the freedom to pursue a new job, start a new business, or bring a new idea to market.” To counter, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups filed a lawsuit yesterday seeking to block the noncompete ban, as reported by the Wall Street Journal and other outlets. This is an ongoing story and we’ll keep you posted.