Top dental suppliers in trouble with FTC

Each year, approximately 85 percent of the 10 billion dollars spent in Missouri and around the country on dental products and services is dominated by three massive companies. Recently, these same companies came under fire from the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly violating antitrust laws. The complaint states the three dental suppliers conspired to refuse discounts to large purchasing groups who sell products and services to smaller individual and group dental practices.

The charges received national media attention and had a direct impact on the stock prices of Benco Dental Supply Company, Henry Schein, Inc., and Patterson Companies, Inc. When the news broke, the companies were already involved in business litigation several other privately-filed antitrust lawsuits.

During the investigation, the FTC reviewed emails and other inter-company communications and determined the distributors feared the prices of their products and services would be driven down if the buying groups were allowed to purchase items at a discounted rate. The companies purportedly made an agreement with each other to deny discounts in an effort to keep their prices higher. Benco Dental Supply Company is also being accused of trying to get a fourth distributor to join in the agreement. All three companies deny the allegations and have vowed to fight these charges in court.

For those who find themselves in a contractual dispute regarding products or services from a supplier, the legal process can have a tremendous effect on the flow of goods and services through the company. In order to make sense of the complex judicial process, it might be helpful to consult with an experienced business litigation attorney who can act as an advocate and help to quickly find a positive resolution to the problem. Great legal guidance can make all the difference in getting a business out of a legal quagmire and back on a successful track.

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