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Akron Univ. School of Law

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Tim Greaney on Antitrust and Health Law Classes

Over at the Antitrust and Competition Policy Blog, Professor Thomas Greaney of St. Louis University School of Law provides helpful information on teaching complex antitrust issues in health law classes.  He states,

In other settings, such as health law and the health financing course, teaching antitrust is, as the saying goes, both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is in laying down enough of a base so those who haven’t taken an antitrust course will be on board. The opportunity is in putting the law in context and applying it given the sometimes-conflicting commands supplied by other legal doctrines (eg. Medicare anti-kickback, exempt organization, state corporate, and Stark laws). As to teaching antitrust itself, my casebook (Furrow, Greaney, Johnson, Jost & Schwartz, Health Law [5th Ed Thomson/West devotes 100 pages to the subject. My goal in the casebook was to give  students a look at the application to the health industry of the two most important antitrust concepts: conduct and structure. The former includes classic cartels and moves along the Section One continuum to advertising restraints, and other restraints carrying interesting “professionalism” justifications (standard-setting by medical specialty organizations). The book then goes on to consider the very actively litigated conduct/structural issues raised by partially integrated physician joint ventures and concludes with merger analysis. After that, (and exposure to the other areas of law mentioned above) students are ready to tackle problems (e.g. counseling regarding hospital-physician joint ventures that have both vertical and horizontal competitive dimensions and implicate all the other areas of law just mentioned.)

Finally, the health-antitrust intersection offers an opportunity to bring into class a seemingly endless stream of policy issues (e.g. health system reform proposals;  Tom Campbell’s lamentable physicians union legislation; exclusion payments involving generic drugs and the overall effect of Hatch-Waxman law; allowing HHS to negotiate directly with big pharma for Medicare Part D purchasing). It keeps you young. 

Mmm - I am not sure "young" is quite the word that I would use to describe my attempts to explain antitrust concepts to my classes  -- but certainly it does keep the mind active.

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