UK watchdog provisionally clears US acquisition of NHS healthtech firm
The UK governments Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally given the okay to US-based UnitedHealth’s proposed £1.2bn purchase of healthtech firm EMIS.
UnitedHealth is a healthcare and insurance company based in the US with a healthtech branch called Optum.
Currently, Optum supplies software used by general practitioners (GP) when prescribing medicines, as well as data analytics and advisory services.
With this, UnitedHealth is looking to acquire EMIS, which already supplies data management systems to the NHS, including the electronic patient record system used by most NHS GPs in the country.
The healthtech firm is the largest supplier of GP electronic patient records systems to the NHS, holding a 58% share of the UK GP market.
While the two businesses do not supply competing services, Optum and its competitors use the data that EMIS holds and integrate their own software with EMIS’s electronic patient record system to compete in other markers, such as supply of population health management services.
The initial concerns of the merger included reducing competition in the case that other companies would not be able to access the data, however a second phase investigation from an independent panel overseas found the merger does not raise these concerns.
Kirstin Baker, chair of the independent inquiry panel carrying out the investigation, said: “Digital technology and data analytics play an increasingly important role in supporting high quality healthcare in the NHS and so it’s important we investigate this deal thoroughly.
“We want to ensure the NHS continues to benefit from innovation and efficiencies brought about by technology services competing for its business.
“After carefully considering a broad range of evidence, we have provisionally found that this deal is not expected to harm competition or adversely affect patients.”
The CMA is now looking to listen to any further views before reach its final decision. It is welcoming responses from interested parties to its provisional findings by the 1st of September.
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