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September 7, 2022

Around the nation: FTC investigates Amazon's $3.9B deal to buy 1Life Healthcare

Daily Briefing

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Friday requested additional information about Amazon's $3.9 billion deal to purchase 1Life Healthcare, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Michigan, and New Jersey.

    • District of Columbia: FTC on Friday requested additional information about Amazon's $3.9 billion deal to purchase 1Life Healthcare, which runs One Medical primary care clinics. Once the deal is finalized, Amazon will gain over 180 clinics in around two dozen U.S. markets, and One Medical CEO Amir Dan Rubin will likely remain CEO. However, FTC's investigation could take months to complete, potentially delaying the deal. According to Neil Lindsay, SVP of Amazon Health Services, innovation continues to be a priority for the health care industry. "As we take our learnings from Amazon Care, we will continue to invent, learn from our customers and industry partners, and hold ourselves to the highest standards as we further help reimagine the future of health care," Lindsay said. (Michaels, Wall Street Journal, 9/2)
    • Michigan: Trinity Health last week completed its acquisition of MercyOne Health System. Initially, the deal was announced in April after Trinity signed an agreement with MercyOne's parent company, CommonSpirit Health, to acquire all facilities and assets of MercyOne. According to the companies, MercyOne will retain its name and branding but will operate under Trinity Health. "For close to 25 years, we have served Iowa communities. With MercyOne now fully part of Trinity Health, we are a stronger and more unified system that will strengthen MercyOne's ability to serve our patients, colleagues, and communities," said Trinity Health president and CEO Mike Slubowski. "Health care providers across the country continue to face unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-pandemic, but together, we are stronger. With our shared history and Catholic mission, we look forward to continuing a legacy of high-quality care for generations to come." (Blackman, HealthLeaders Media, 9/2)
    • New Jersey: The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday announced that Bayer agreed to pay a $40 million settlement for claims of alleged kickbacks and false statements for three prescription drugs. According to the DOJ, former Bayer employee Laurie Simpson filed two lawsuits against Bayer under the False Claims Act, which contains whistleblower provisions that allow private individuals to file lawsuits against organizations suspected of defrauding the government. In one lawsuit, Simpson claimed that the company gave kickbacks to hospitals and physicians who prescribed Trasylol and Avelox, marketed them for off-label purposes that did not seem "reasonable and necessary," and understated safety risks associated with Trasylol—actions that allegedly resulted in the submission of false Medicare and Medicaid claims and violated laws in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Simpson's second lawsuit alleged that Bayer knowingly understated the risks associated with Baycol, while misrepresenting its efficacy compared with similar drugs. "As alleged in the complaints, Bayer—one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world—engaged in a series of unlawful acts, including paying kickbacks to doctors and hospitals, marketing them off-label, and downplaying their safety risks," said U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Philip Sellinger. "This resolution should send a message to the pharmaceutical industry that such conduct undermines the integrity of federal health care programs and jeopardizes patient safety." (Knutson, Axios, 9/2)

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