WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced March 22 that it has dismissed its case challenging Advocate Health Care Network’s proposed merger with NorthShore University HealthSystem after the two companies abandoned the merger.

The FTC first worked to block the merger back in December 2015 citing anti-competitive allegations, but the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied a request for preliminary injunction. The case made its way to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which remanded the case back to the district court for further action. On March 7, the district court granted the FTC a preliminary injunction against the merger. The administrative trial against the merger would have began 21 days after the district court’s ruling, but the two hospitals dropped their proposed merger.

“Historically, the Advocate and NorthShore hospital systems competed vigorously to be included in health insurance companies’ hospital networks,” FTC acting chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen wrote in a statement. “Having reason to believe their merger would increase costs, and harm quality and innovation for patients and their families in the northern suburbs of Chicago, the Commission sued in federal district court and in the FTC’s administrative process. 

The Seventh Circuit and ultimately the district court agreed, validating the FTC’s analyses and methodologies. With the two hospital systems remaining separate, consumers will continue to reap the benefits of this competition, which include lower prices and higher quality service.”

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