Bloomberg Law: FTC Eyes Seldom-Used Pricing Law to Crack Down on Market Abuse

July 7, 2022 Media

The FTC is mulling the use of a rarely used anti-price discrimination law to potentially crack down on dominant companies’ unfair use of market power.

The Federal Trade Commission is ramping up enforcement against illegal bribes and rebate schemes involving pharmacy benefits managers, it announced in a June enforcement policy statement. The statement pointed to one of its legal authorities—the Robinson-Patman Act, a Great Depression-era price discrimination law referred to as the “Magna Carta of Small Business”—that could be exercised by the agency.

“What we have today are enormously dominant firms like Amazon and Walmart that have unprecedented buying power,” said Katherine Van Dyck, senior legal counsel at the American Economic Liberties Project. “The Robinson-Patman Act is a tool that was specifically designed to combat that.”