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FTC, DOJ, HHS launch probe into private equity transactions in healthcare

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | March 11, 2024
Business Affairs

She also says that while evidence suggests that private equity ownership leads to consolidated markets, causing loss of competition and increased pricing, and that these firms are associated with cuts in staff and services, this does not suggest that quality of care is adversely affected.

In addition to the White House probe, the Senate Budget Committee initiated its own investigation in December, calling it the Private Equity Stakeholder Project (PESP). Just this month, the PESP released a report that recorded sustained interest for private equity investment in the healthcare sector, with a total of 1,135 deals in 2023. This included 148 buyouts, 259 growth or expansion investments, and 728 add-on acquisitions to 422 unique platform companies, and involved approximately 675 private equity firms, venture capital firms, and other investors. At least 22 private equity firms were involved in ten or more healthcare deals in 2023.

The report showed much activity in outpatient care, dental care, health IT, and medtech as well as biotech, pharmaceuticals, and medical aesthetics, but warned that the PE business model may lead to cost-cutting measures that impact patients and workers negatively. It calls for greater scrutiny of these acquisitions in healthcare by regulators and lawmakers.

The RFI in the White House probe complements those issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Medicare Advantage and by the FTC and HHS on how pharmaceutical middleman groups may be contributing to drug shortages.

Patients, consumer advocates, doctors, nurses, healthcare providers and administrators, employers, insurers, and others are invited to respond to the RFI and will have until May 6 to submit comments at Regulations.gov.

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