On Feb. 12, the FTC filed an administrative complaint against Benco, Henry Schein and Patterson, the three largest dental supply companies in the nation, which together comprise approximately 85 percent of the $10 billion market. The FTC noted in its press release that “this case reflects the Commission’s ongoing efforts to ensure competition in the healthcare industry.”
The antitrust suit alleges that the companies conspired and agreed not to offer discounts to buying groups representing independent dentists, thus depriving them of their collective purchasing power. The complaint includes exchanges between executives of Benco and Henry Schein detailing the agreement as well as attempts to monitor and ensure compliance. It also alleges that Patterson previously did not have the same policy as Benco — in which Benco instructed its sales force to refuse to recognize, work with or offer discounts to buying groups — but adopted such a policy after entering into the agreement in 2013. Benco was also charged with a Section 5 violation for inviting a fourth competitor to collude.