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Dental Supplier Settles|With Texas for $300K

AUSTIN, Texas (CN) - Texas has settled an antitrust investigation of a dental supply distributor for $300,000.

Texas sued Benco Dental Supply Co. in Travis County Court on Thursday and announced the settlement Friday.

Benco claims on its website to be the "largest independent, family owned dental distributor in the United States." It was founded in 1930 by Russian immigrant Benjamin J. Cohen, who opened a store in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. and named it Benco, after himself. He sold merchandise and teeth to local dentists and labs.

The company today has five major U.S. distribution centers, headquartered in Pittston, Pa.

The Texas Dental Association, which hosts an annual trade show, started a TDA Perks Supplies in October 2013 for member dentists to buy dental supplies online without the need for a sales representative. The TDA offered the program in conjunction with SourceOne Dental.

When Benco learned of the "potentially disruptive new business model," Benco pressured distributors to boycott the annual TDA meeting in May 2014, Texas.

Benco pressed other distributors and manufacturers "to discontinue supplying TDA Perks Supplies and/or end any relationships with manufacturers or distributors that ultimately supplied TDA Perks Supplies in order to stifle the competition provided by the new TDA offering," Texas said in the complaint.

This "unreasonably restrained trade in the relevant product and geographic markets."

Benco agreed to stop its anticompetitive activities, institute a company antitrust training program, and pay Texas $300,000 for investigative costs.

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