DURHAM – Life science giant Iqvia’s plans to acquire digital media company Propel Media face a big hurdle: The Federal Trade Commission voted 3-0 Monday to seek to block the merger, saying the deal would give Iqvia “a market- leading position in programmatic advertising for health care products, namely prescription drugs, to doctors and other health care professionals.”

The FTC also said the Durham-based conglomerate’s proposed a merger “would also increase Iqvia’s incentive to withhold key information to prevent rival companies and potential entrants from effectively competing, the complaint states.”

Propel Media  the owner of DeepIntent which focuses on digital advertising and has many clients in the pharma industry.

News site Politico disclosed in May the unannounced deal for up to $800 million was brokered last year.

Reports: FTC mulls block of Iqvia deal to buy digital ad specialist firm for up to $800M


“Protecting competition in the emerging health care programmatic advertising market plays a critical role in lowering health care costs, including the cost of prescription drugs.” said FTC Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova. “Given the rampant consolidation across the pharmaceutical industry, it’s critical that the market for health care product advertising remains competitive to ensure that patients and their doctors have access to high quality, affordable products.”