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U.S. court upholds temporary FTC block of IQVIA-Propel merger

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A U.S. court upheld the Federal Trade Commission's order to temporarily block IQVIA's proposed acquisition of Propel Media, owner of health care ad platform DeepIntent.

Why it matters: This could lead to another win for antitrust regulators determined to crack down on monopolies and redefine the parameters of anti-competition.

Catch up fast: IQVIA tried to buy Propel in 2022 for an undisclosed price, but the FTC blocked the deal last year.

  • Per the FTC's complaint in 2023, the merger would result in a "heightened motivation" for IQVIA to withhold crucial information, harming competition.
  • "The merger would harm competition and would lead to increased prices for consumers, and hurt patients," the FTC said at the time.

How it works: IQVIA is a leading data and analytics provider for the life sciences and health care space, while DeepIntent's advertising platform targets health care professionals and consumers.

What they're saying: "The FTC has shown that there is a reasonable probability that the proposed acquisition will substantially impair competition in the relevant market and that the equities weigh in favor of injunctive relief," says District Judge Edgar Ramos, who granted the U.S. antitrust department a preliminary injunction to block the deal.

  • "IQVIA is disappointed by the Court's decision to grant the FTC's request for a preliminary injunction," the company said via email.
  • "IQVIA's acquisition of Propel Media would make it easier for patients and doctors to obtain the healthcare information they need to make better decisions that lead to better health outcomes."

What's next: IQVIA is reviewing the decision and evaluating options, per the emailed statement.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from IQVIA. DeepIntent, Propel and the FTC did not immediately respond to Axios' requests for comment.

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