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Schein: FTC antitrust complaint won’t seek monetary damages

Melville company denies that it conspired with other dental supply firms to boycott dentists’ buying groups.

The Henry Schein Inc. building on Duryea Road

The Henry Schein Inc. building on Duryea Road in Melville, Dec. 31, 2014. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

The Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust complaint against Melville-based Henry Schein Inc. and two other dental supply distributors seeks “injunctive relief,” but does not call for monetary damages, the Long Island company said in a statement Wednesday.

The FTC issued a news release late Monday outlining the complaint against Henry Schein, Benco Dental Supply Co. of Pittston, Pennsylvania, and Patterson Companies Inc. of St. Paul, Minnesota, charging that they violated antitrust laws by “conspiring” to boycott dentists’ buying groups or refuse to provide them discounts.

Shares of Henry Schein, which also supplies products to the offices of doctors and veterinarians, fell 6.6 percent Tuesday following the FTC announcement, but rebounded 1.5 percent to close at $68.43 on Wednesday.

An FTC spokeswoman said in an email that an edited version of the formal complaint would be released to the public after the parties had the opportunity to redact confidential business information. An administrative trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 16.

Wall Street analysts had speculated that the FTC could seek monetary damages that could run as high as billions of dollars.

Henry Schein’s statement said that “contrary to the FTC’s allegations” it has consistently done business with dental buying groups, which, by one definition, represent less than 10 percent of the company’s North America dental sales.

The company, which said it plans to mount a legal defense, also said it “never entered into an agreement with others regarding pricing or any refusal to do business with dental buying groups.”

Henry Schein said it has a “history of serving customers with integrity and honesty,” citing its selection to Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies for 17 consecutive years and to the Ethisphere Institute’s List of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for seven straight years.

Henry Schein posted revenue of $11.6 billion in 2016, making it Long Island’s largest public company.

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