Department of Justice Issues Business Review Letter to Medical Supplies Distributors Supporting Project Airbridge Under Expedited Procedure for COVID-19 Pandemic Response
The U.S. Department of Justice announced today that it will not challenge collaborative efforts of McKesson Corporation, Owens & Minor Inc., Cardinal Health Inc., Medline Industries Inc., and Henry Schein Inc. (together, Medical Supplies Distributors) to expedite and increase manufacturing, sourcing, and distribution of personal-protective equipment (PPE) and coronavirus-treatment-related medication. These collaborative efforts are part of an emergency response developed and led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to address supply needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These Medical Supplies Distributors should be applauded for their efforts to both assist the United States in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay within the bounds of antitrust law,” says Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim. “I also applaud the attorneys and economists of the Antitrust Division, who worked expeditiously to finish in days a review process that ordinarily takes many months.”
Under the collaboration, the Medical Supplies Distributors work at the direction of the United States government to help resolve supply challenges presented by the pandemic. One such initiative, Project Airbridge, was developed by the United States as a partnership between the Medical Supplies Distributors, among others, in addition to logistics companies, under the direction of FEMA and HHS. Project Airbridge’s purpose is to quickly source and airlift PPE, including masks, gowns, gloves, and other equipment designed to protect against infection, as well as to distribute coronavirus-treatment-related medication to areas of greatest need across the country.
The Medical Supplies Distributors submitted their business review request pursuant to the expedited, temporary review procedure, detailed in the Joint Antitrust Statement Regarding COVID-19 (the "joint statement") and issued on March 24 by both the department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In the Joint Statement, the department announced its aim to resolve COVID-19-related business review requests within seven calendar days of receiving all necessary information.
Copies of the business review request and the department’s response are available on the Antitrust Division’s website at https://www.justice.gov/atr/business-review-letters-and-request-letters, as well as in a file maintained by the Antitrust Documents Group of the Antitrust Division. After a 30-day waiting period, any documents supporting the business review will be added to the file, unless a basis for their exclusion for reasons of confidentiality has been established under the business review procedure. Supporting documents in the file will be maintained for a period of one year, and copies will be available upon request to the FOIA/Privacy Act Unit, Antitrust Documents Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.