FTC Antitrust Case Targeting Dental Suppliers Reaches Conclusion For All Three Parties
A recent U.S. FTC (Federal Trade Commission) ruling, Antitrust Case targets dental supplier, Benco Dental and medical supplies conglomerate Patterson Companies illegally conspired to avoid offering discount prices to dental buying groups. Benco Dental has announced that it will not appeal the ruling.
Patterson Companies, on the other hand, revealed that it has settled with the FTC. A third defendant, health care product distributor Henry Schein, was cleared of wrongdoing in the October 16 FTC ruling. Dental buying groups exist to negotiate better pricing from distributors for small and single-doctor dental practices. Patterson Companies and Benco Dental conspired to sabotage efforts by these groups to achieve lower prices, while Henry Schein did not.
Benco Dental Disagrees with the Ruling
In a statement, Benco Dental said that it “respectfully disagrees” with the ruling. However, the company went back on an initial plan to appeal the findings. According to a Benco spokesperson, the company did not feel there was enough reason to fight the ruling.
The FTC did not impose a fine or place any major restrictions on Benco Dental. Benco Dental also claimed that the FTC’s final conclusion was that there was no “industrywide” conspiracy holding down dental buying groups, a judgment the company approved of.
Patterson Companies made clear in a statement that because they reached a settlement, the FTC had not actually delivered a final ruling on Patterson’s conduct. The FTC’s remedial order for Patterson Companies does not require that the company is monitored by a third party and does not include any fines. The company agreed with the terms and also agreed not to appeal the case.
A Settlement is the Best Business Choice said Patterson Companies
In its statement, Patterson Companies said that a settlement was the best business choice, but also maintained that the company had grounds for appeal had it chosen to go in that direction. However, the company said that settling allows them to move on and avoid future costs of fighting the decision.
According to the terms of the settlement, Patterson Companies must make its decisions related to buying groups independent of other competing companies, and it must train its staff on antitrust laws. Though they agreed to these terms, Patterson was adamant in its denial of wrongdoing.
The initial complaint against Benco Dental, Patterson Companies, and Henry Schein, the FTC claimed were that U.S. antitrust laws were violated when the three companies worked together to make sure they did not have to offer lower prices for their sales to dental buying groups. According to documents presented during the trial, high-ranking execs at the three companies talked to each other about these unlawful tactics.
Did you enjoy our article and insights on FTC Antitrust Case Targeting Dental Suppliers? If you’re looking to learn more about how to help your practice thrive – be sure and download our FREE 43-page Report on Increasing Case Sizes and Collections.