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US: Dentists loose big antitrust case

 |  February 25, 2015

The Supreme Court has just handed down N.C. Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC, an antitrust case about the scope of the “state-action” doctrine. North Carolina has a board of dental examiners, where a majority of the board is composed of practicing dentists. You can’t practice dentistry in North Carolina without having a license from the Board.

The Board aggressively went after non-dentist teeth whiteners, sending them numerous cease-and-desist letters claiming that they were engaged in the unauthorized practice of dentistry. Ultimately, non-dentist teeth whiteners left the state of North Carolina.

The Federal Trade Commission, which is one of the agencies that enforces federal antitrust law said this was against antitrust regulations on Wednesday. The Fourth Circuit sided with the FTC and said that boards run by active market participants are subject to antitrust law .

The Supreme Court has just agreed with the Fourth Circuit: “Because a controlling number of the Board’s decisionmakers are active market participants in the occupation the Board regulates, the Board can invoke state-action antitrust immunity only if it was subject to active supervision by the State, and here that requirement is not met.” The decision was6–3, with Justice Kennedy writing for the Court.


Full Content: The Washington Post


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