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An administrative law judge has partially ruled in favor of the Federal Trade Commission’s complaint that dental products distributors conspired not to provide discounts to buying groups. According to the FTC, the judge’s initial decision has held that two of three respondents named in the complaint violated U.S. antitrust laws by conspiring to refuse to provide discounts to, or otherwise serve, buying groups representing dental practitioners.
The judge held that Benco Dental Supply Company and Patterson Companies Inc. were part of the conspiracy, but Henry Schein Inc. was not. In addition to dismissing the complaint against Schein, the judge also dismissed another violation that alleged Benco invited a fourth competing distributor to join the conspiracy.
The Dentists Supply Company’s Chief Executive Officer Jim Wiggett issued this statement regarding today’s FTC announcement:
“In the wake of the judge’s initial decision, members of organized dentistry across the country, particularly solo practitioners, can rest assured that The Dentists Supply Company has their best interests at heart — for their practices and patients. Association member dentists created TDSC to help them stay competitive by offering negotiated savings and direct access to dental supplies from authorized vendors through tdsc.com.
TDSC looks forward to continuing our partnerships with dental suppliers in the supply and equipment industry. Our relationships are built on trust, service and value to ensure we deliver consistent, competitive supply prices to our customers nationwide.”
The FTC’s interim decision will become final in 30 days, during which time any of the parties involved may appeal.