Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced a settlement with dental supply distributor Patterson Companies, Inc. after they were discovered violating state antitrust law by conducting an illegal group boycott to eliminate an online rival. The agreed final judgment commits Patterson Companies to pay $200,000 to the state, requires additional antitrust training and prohibits it from repeating an economically damaging practice.
“Conspiring with competitors to prevent the emergence of new distribution channels for goods and services is contrary to the free market and violates antitrust laws,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Such interference should not be tolerated in any industry. My office will continue to ensure that companies doing business in Texas have the opportunity to compete in a truly free market.”
The state’s antitrust action stemmed from a three-year investigation into allegations that dental supply distributors Patterson Companies, Henry Schein, and Benco worked together to thwart the entry of a lower-cost, online source of dental supplies provided by the Texas Dental Association (TDA). The state alleged that these distributors colluded to discourage suppliers from working with the TDA and its business partner, and agreed not to attend the TDA’s annual trade show in 2014 in retaliation. Texas previously settled related suits with Patterson’s co-conspirators in the boycotts: Benco Dental Supply Company and Henry Schein, Inc.