In October, Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell held that Benco and Patterson conspired to refuse to provide discounts to, or otherwise serve, buying groups representing dental practitioners.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed its administrative complaint against Benco, Patterson, and Henry Schein Inc in 2018. The judge dismissed the charges against Henry Schein.
The three companies, which offer a range of consumable supplies and equipment, collectively control more than 85% of all distributor sales of dental products and services nationwide, according to the FTC. The U.S. market for dental products is valued at approximately $10 billion.
The judge ruled that the FTC demonstrated “that Respondents Benco and Patterson conspired to refuse to offer discounted prices or otherwise compete for the business of buying groups and that such an agreement is a per se violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.” Chappell added that the evidence fails to prove a conspiracy involving Henry Schein, and dismissed the complaint against the company. The judge also dismissed another violation in the FTC’s complaint, which alleged that Benco invited a fourth competing distributor to join the conspiracy.