HEALTHEON/WEBMD: DOJ Looks Into e-Health Acquisitions
Citing antitrust concerns, the Justice Department last week requested additional information from Healtheon/WebMD regarding its potential acquisition of Quintiles Transnational Corp.'s electronic health transaction unit Envoy Corp., the Wall Street Journal reports. The deal was announced in January, but cannot be completed until the DOJ approves the deal. In a joint statement, Healtheon and Quintiles said the request was "not unusual" and they anticipate that the deal will proceed as planned. Healtheon CEO Jeff Arnold said DOJ officials requested a "general overview" of the medical electronic transaction business and its association with the practice management software industry. The 23-page inquiry probed Healtheon's products and revenue and requested company documents regarding contracts and proposals for customers. The electronic medical transaction field is likely to be a point of interest for regulators, as Healtheon recently acquired two such companies, Mede America and Kintera, late last year. With the addition of Envoy, Healtheon expects to process two billion transactions annually, such as physicians' claims. Healtheon General Counsel Jack Dennison said that regulators "simply have indicated they need more time to understand the rapidly evolving 'e-health' industry." He added, "They haven't identified any specific antitrust problems, and we're quite confident there aren't any" (Carrns, 4/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.