FTC Sues to Block Amgen’s $27.8 Billion Acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics

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In a brief, the Federal Trade Commission cited concerns about the acquisition resulting in an increased monopoly on Amgen’s newly acquired thyroid eye disease and chronic refractory gout treatments.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on May 16, 2023 that the agency is filing suit against Amgen in conjunction with Amgen’s recent $27.8 billion bid to acquire Horizon Therapeutics. In an agency press release, FTC cited concerns that the acquisition would enable Amgen to use rebates on its existing blockbuster drugs to pressure insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers into favoring Horizon’s two-monopoly biologics products. The biologics products in question are Tepezza (teprotumumab-trbw), a treatment for thyroid eye disease, and Krystexxa (pegloticase), a treatment for chronic refractory gout.

“Rampant consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry has given powerful companies a pass to exorbitantly hike prescription drug prices, deny patients access to more affordable generics, and hamstring innovation in life-saving markets,” said Holly Vedova, Bureau of Competition director , FTC, in the release. “Today’s action—the FTC’s first challenge to a pharmaceutical merger in recent memory—sends a clear signal to the market: the FTC won't hesitate to challenge mergers that enable pharmaceutical conglomerates to entrench their monopolies at the expense of consumers and fair competition.”

In response to the suit, Amgen released a public statement denying its intentions to bundle coverages.

“The medicines offered by Amgen and Horizon generally treat different diseases and patient populations, and there are no overlaps of competitive concern,” reads the statement. “The FTC's claim that Amgen might ‘bundle’ these medicines (offer a multi-product discount) at some point in the future is entirely speculative and does not reflect the real-world competitive dynamics behind providing rare-disease medicines to patients.”


Amgen’s statement also questioned whether any acquisition could be denied under a “bundling theory,” claiming that there was no such precedent.The company also announced its intent to work with the courts and complete the acquisition by mid-December 2023.

Source: Federal Trade Commission, Amgen