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Antitrust Not Always Available in Competitor Disputes in the Healthcare Sector

Nadezhda Nikonova, David Garcia, Sheppard Mullin Antitrust Law Blog, March 16, 2017

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The antitrust injury and antitrust standing defenses/doctrines are alive and well in healthcare. A recent case, SCPH Legacy Corp. et al. v. Palmetto Health et al., shows that a competitor is not always the most legally appropriate plaintiff to bring an antitrust case, especially when the competitor’s alleged harm stems from increased competition. This article explains the court’s reasoning and makes some predictions for similar arguments in the future.

On February 24, 2017, Judge Joseph F. Anderson of the District of South Carolina, granted a motion to dismiss all federal antitrust claims brought by a small hospital chain against its larger competitor for lack of antitrust injury and antitrust standing. The court held that poaching a group of doctors is not the type of injury that the antitrust laws are designed to protect when the suit is brought by a competitor, and that more direct plaintiffs exist.

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