The Federal Trade Commissions Bureau of Competition will be headed by Richard Feinstein, a partner in the law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner who led the FTCs healthcare antitrust enforcement from 1998 to 2001 as an assistant director in the bureau. Feinstein, 56, was named to the position by the commissions chairman, Jon Leibowitz, recently elevated to the post by President Barack Obama.
Im going to be overseeing the bureau as a whole, not just the healthcare shop, Feinstein said. Healthcare, he added, is going to continue to be at or near their list of priorities, but thats not really new. Specifically, Feinstein said he expects the commission to build on its work over the past several years in hospital mergers and to continue its aggressive interest in patent settlements between pharmaceutical companies. He also noted the proposed mergers of Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp., and the acquisition of Wyeth by Pfizer in the pipeline for review.
Feinstein recently defended a California independent practice association against the FTC, which alleged that the IPA's more than 500 physician members engaged in a price-fixing conspiracy against health insurers. The IPA settled the case late last year without admitting any wrongdoing.