The Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Justice Department have teamed up to develop a new set of sweeping antitrust guidelines for all joint ventures.
The guidelines will outline the government's antitrust enforcement policies for joint ventures in all industries, not just in healthcare, said Robert Leibenluft, assistant director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition.
Over the past few months, both agencies have been soliciting testimony from expert witnesses on the joint-venture project.
Participants in these hearings include Clark Havighurst, a healthcare law professor at Duke University; Paul Allen, general counsel of Visa U.S.A.; and Charles James, an antitrust attorney at Jones Day Reavis & Pogue in Washington, who is now opposing the FTC in the Poplar Bluff, Mo., hospital merger case (April 20, p. 2).
Leibenluft said the broad joint-venture guidelines eventually could lead to another revision of the healthcare antitrust guidelines. The agencies are still hearing testimony.
Responding to complaints from hospitals and physicians that antitrust enforcement policies were hindering industry consolidation, the FTC and Justice Department released enforcement guidelines specific to healthcare in 1993, 1994 and 1996.