Pharmacy Trade Regulation: Richard A. Feinstein and Daniel A. Kotchen
Community pharmacies, wholesalers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, professional associations, and other pharmaceutical organizations are all subject to federal laws and regulations (as well as state counterparts) that govern business practices. These laws, which are primarily intended to operate for the benefit of consumers, generally fall into two broad categories: (1) laws that ensure vigorous competition among competitors, known as antitrust laws, and (2) laws that ensure consumers are not misled by marketing practices, known as consumer protection laws. These laws can be enforced through a federal enforcement agency specifically charged with regulating trade (primarily the Federal Trade Commission), state attorneys general offices, and private rights of action. This chapter generally summarizes antitrust laws applicable to the pharmaceutical industry, describes enforcement of these laws, discusses enforcement actions in the pharmaceutical industry, and sets forth practical suggestions as to how to minimize legal risks attendant to antitrust laws. In addition, this chapter briefly summarizes the scope of consumer protection laws applicable to the pharmaceutical industry.