Report: Schein, competitors face antitrust suits

Henry Schein CEO Stanley Bergman.

Medical supply giant Henry Schein and two competitors are facing more than 20 antitrust lawsuits accusing them of colluding to restrict competition from discount distributors, Newsday is reporting.

Most of the cases have been filed in U.S. District Court in Central Islip or Brooklyn and are being consolidated into one case, the paper said, quoting court documents. Many of the lawsuits have been filed by dentists since the beginning of the year.

The lawsuits allege that Melville-based Schein, Long Island’s largest public company by revenue, conspired with Pennsylvania’s Benco Dental Supply Co. and Patterson Companies of St. Paul, Minn., to monopolize the nation’s dental supplies market in violation of federal antitrust law.

A Henry Schein spokesman said the firm intends to defend itself “vigorously against these actions.” Benton declined to comment. Patterson didn’t immediately return a call, the paper said.

Schein and Patterson denied wrongdoing in court papers filed in connection with a similar suit filed last year that is pending in Central Islip. A conference aimed at negotiating a settlement is scheduled for April 13.

Most of the suits seek triple damages from alleged overcharges and seek class action status on behalf of more than 100,000 dentists and dental laboratories that purchased supplies from one or more of the three defendant companies.

The suits said the companies’ actions are the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Texas and Arizona attorneys general and by the Federal Trade Commission.

Newsday and Optimum customers can read the full report here.