On Thursday, state Attorney General Ashley Moody announced a multimillion-dollar agreement with one of the largest oncology medical practices in Florida to resolve state antitrust and consumer protection concerns.
The proposed consent decree with Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, LLC follows a civil antitrust investigation into whether the health care provider entered into illegal agreements with competitors that allocated geographic or product markets in violation of the Florida Antitrust Act and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The potential effect of these agreements was the reduction of choice by consumers seeking cancer treatment. Florida Cancer Specialists is among the largest oncology and hematology medical practices in Florida—with approximately 100 offices and more than 200 doctors statewide.
“Cancer patients have enough to worry about without having to be concerned with unfair market practices that could adversely affect consumer choice. We will not allow market-disrupting practices like the intentional elimination of competition through coordinated geographic or product market allocation to negatively impact health care consumer choice,” Moody said.
Under the terms of the proposed agreement, that still must be approved by a court, FCS has agreed to pay more than $20 million in disgorgement of profits and other relief over four years to resolve the investigation. FCS also has agreed to comprehensive injunctive relief, including undertaking a robust compliance program to ensure conformity with Florida’s antitrust laws. FCS will continue to cooperate with the Florida Attorney General’s ongoing investigation into the alleged allocation scheme.
Florida’s civil antitrust settlement comes as the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division also resolves a parallel criminal antitrust investigation of FCS for $100 million in criminal fines.
The Florida Attorney General’s Antitrust Division enforces state and federal antitrust laws through civil investigations and litigation under authority granted the Attorney General pursuant to Chapter 542, Florida Statutes. The Division also seeks to protect competition and consumers in the state by pursuing potential antitrust violations, such as bid-rigging, price-fixing, and agreements to allocate markets, among other things.