Environmental Protection

Nebraska Suit Seeks to Halt Infectious Waste Companies' Merger

The state of Nebraska on Dec. 1 filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to block the proposed merger of two infectious waste collection and treatment providers.

Joined by the state of Missouri and the U.S. Department of Justice, the Nebraska Attorney General's Office has proposed a settlement that, if approved by the court, will resolve any competitive concerns the merger has raised.

The proposed merger of Stericycle, Inc., and MedServe, Inc., would substantially lessen competition in infectious waste collection and treatment services to hospitals and other critical healthcare facilities in the service area that includes Nebraska.

"If we had allowed this merger to continue, Nebraska medical providers would have seen rising costs for these services," Attorney General Jon Bruning said. "These costs would then have been passed along to Nebraskans already struggling with high medical bills." Stericycle and MedServe are the only two firms able to compete for customers that generate large quantities of infectious waste in Nebraska.

Under the proposed settlement, Stericycle and MedServe must divest all of MedServe's assets primarily used in the provision of infectious waste collection and treatment services to large customers in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma to a viable purchaser approved by the department.

These assets include MedServe's Newton, Kan.; treatment facility, and its transfer stations in Kansas City, Kan.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Omaha, Neb.; and Booneville, Mo.

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