DOJ's First Antitrust Criminal Prosecution of a Health Care Provider in 25 Years May Signal a New Era for Health Care Antitrust Print E-mail
Written by Mitchell D. Raup & Herbert F. Allen   
Friday, 08 May 2020 18:36

Antitrust enforcement against physicians and hospitals is common, but criminal antitrust prosecutions of health care providers are very rare. There were none for over 50 years, between 1940 and 1990.  The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice brought two criminal cases in 1990 and 1995, charging dentists and optometrists with price-fixing. Then for 25 years, DOJ did not charge a provider with an antitrust crime. Until now.

On April 30, 2020, DOJ charged a Florida oncology clinic with a criminal antitrust conspiracy. The one-count criminal information in US v. Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute LLC ("FCS") alleges that FCS conspired with another oncology clinic, 21st Century Oncology, and other unnamed co-conspirators, to allocate markets in southwest Florida. They agreed that FCS would do medical oncology and 21st Century Oncology would do radiation oncology, and the two would not compete against each other. This conspiracy continued for 17 years, from 1999 to 2016.

The case settled with a deferred prosecution agreement, in which FCS agreed to pay $100 million (the maximum criminal fine for a corporation convicted of a single antitrust violation) and to cooperate in DOJ's prosecution of others involved in the conspiracy. In a separate settlement with the State of Florida, FCS agreed to pay Florida another $20 million.


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