The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted on December 29, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission’s request for a preliminary injunction to prevent IQVIA Holdings Inc. (IQVIA) from acquiring Propel Media, Inc. pending the Commission’s administrative proceeding seeking to permanently block the proposed deal.

In response, Bureau of Competition Director Henry Liu issued the following statement:

“To close out 2023, the FTC secured another significant victory that temporarily blocks an anticompetitive merger that would raise health care prices for consumers. The federal court’s order in IQVIA is also a win for the FTC as it continues to challenge anticompetitive deals involving health care and emerging technology platforms. We are pleased with the federal court’s decision and look forward to continuing to fight to permanently enjoin this anticompetitive deal via the Commission’s administrative proceedings.

Congratulations to the Mergers I Division on this important initial victory and thank you to all the staff who worked on this case.”  

On July 17, 2023, the FTC sued to block IQVIA’s acquisition of Propel Media alleging in an administrative complaint that the proposed acquisition would give IQVIA a market-leading position in programmatic advertising targeted to doctors and other health care professionals. The Commission also authorized FTC staff to seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in federal district court to prevent IQVIA from consummating its acquisition of Propel Media, pending the agency’s administrative proceeding.

After a nearly two-week evidentiary hearing and closing arguments in late November and December 2023, U.S. District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos issued an order granting the FTC’s motion for preliminary injunction on December 29, 2023. The administrative trial is scheduled to begin on January 18, 2024.

The IQVIA federal court order is the fourth merger victory for the FTC in less than a month as the Commission seeks lower health care costs by preventing anticompetitive deals. In December 2023, the FTC also secured victories in its challenges against Illumina’s acquisition of Grail, John Muir’s takeover of San Ramon Regional Medical Center from Tenet Healthcare, and Sanofi’s acquisition of Maze Therapeutics’ Pompe disease drug. The IQVIA order also comes several weeks after the FTC’s successful challenge of several drug products as improperly or inaccurately listed in the Food and Drug Administration’s Orange Book.

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