Fourth Circuit & FTC: State Dental Board Subject to Federal Antitrust Laws in Teeth-Whitening Case

The health care industry is familiar with the FTC’s enforcement presence for anticompetitive business practices in health care markets. But in a case involving the market for teeth-whitening services in North Carolina, it seems that state boards might now have to watch their steps too. Attorneys from Mintz Levin’s Health Care Antitrust Practice recently authored an alert entitled, Fourth Circuit Holds State Agencies Operated by Market Participants Are Private Actors for State Action Purposes, that discusses the case and why the Fourth Circuit agreed with the FTC’s determination that the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners illegally excluded nondentists from the state’s teeth-whitening market.

The Fourth Circuit held that the dental board is subject to federal antitrust law because it was acting as a private party, not a governmental agency, when it issued cease-and-desist letters to teeth-whitening providers who were not dentists. They also agreed that the dental board is operated by market participants who are elected by market participants. State boards and quasi-governmental agencies should be aware that their activities may not be immune from antitrust enforcement actions.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Mintz Levin - Health Law & Policy Matters | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Mintz Levin - Health Law & Policy Matters on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.