A coalition of unions and patient advocacy groups has urged the Federal Trade Commission to strengthen its requirements for AbbVie and Allergan’s planned $63 billion merger.
In a letter to the FTC, the 17-member coalition called for prohibiting AbbVie’s use of “rebate walls” to restrict access to competing products, before the merger is allowed to go through. The rebates to pharmacy benefit managers and others allow higher-priced drugs to get more favorable coverage by health plans and stifle competition from less expensive drugs.
The coalition claimed that AbbVie has cornered the immunologic drug market and uses rebate walls to keep rival companies from competing against its blockbuster TNF inhibitor Humira (adalimumab) and IL-23 inhibitor Skyrizi (risankizumab-rzaa).
“This merger, by giving AbbVie additional blockbuster drugs, may increase AbbVie’s bargaining leverage, including its incentive and ability to engage in even more restrictive contracting practices that will harm competition and consumers,” the coalition said.