DOJ demands GE divests

The US Department of Justice has reached a settlement with General Electric which requires it to divest two Instrumentarium businesses in order for it to proceed with its acquisition of the company.

The US Department of Justice has reached a settlement with General Electric which requires it to divest two Instrumentarium businesses – its Spacelabs patient monitor business and its Ziehm C-arm business – in order for it to proceed with its acquisition of the company.

The Department said that the acquisition, as originally proposed, would lessen competition in the sale of monitors used for patients requiring critical care and mobile C-arms used for basic surgical and vascular procedures, and would likely result in higher prices or reduced quality for consumers.

The Department’s Antitrust Division filed a lawsuit last week in the US District Court in Washington, DC to block the original transaction. At the same time, the Department filed a proposed consent decree that, if approved by the court, would resolve the Department’s competitive concerns and the lawsuit.

‘These divestitures will preserve competition in the sale and development of important medical devices and will prevent anticompetitive harm to healthcare providers and their patients,’ said R. Hewitt Pate, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department’s Antitrust Division.

Critical care patient monitors are medical devices used by hospitals and other healthcare facilities to measure and display the vital physiologic signs of patients in serious medical condition. Mobile C-arms developed for basic surgical and vascular procedures are full-size, fluoroscopic x-ray machines that provide continuous, real-time viewing of patients during those procedures.

GE and Instrumentarium are two of only a few competitors that provide these medical devices to healthcare providers and have competed head to head on price, product features, and service.