Remember last year that the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against the North Carolina Dental Board regarding teeth whitening services? I covered the flap in this post.and others.
Well, the Administrative Law Judge assigned to the case has finally rendered a decision.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ruled that the North Carolina dental board's efforts to block nondentists from providing teeth-whitening services constitute an illegal anticompetitive conspiracy.The North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners' actions violated the law, according to a decision by Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell, who concluded it was "unreasonable restraint of trade and an unfair method of competition."The dental board lacks the authority to order nondentists to discontinue providing teeth-whitening goods or services, Chappell ruled. He also forbid it from engaging in the same anticompetitive conduct in the future. In addition, the order requires the board to send follow-up letters to nondentists whom it had previously warned would or might be violating state law by providing teeth-whitening services, the FTC statement said.Chappell determined that "dentist members of the dental board had a common scheme or design, and hence an agreement, to exclude nondentists from the market for teeth-whitening services and to deter potential providers of teeth-whitening services from entering the market," the FTC said
Other states like Connecticut have taken the same approach to Kiosk and Mall teeth bleaching And, in fact, have banned them.
New Jersey has similar cases.
So, off to court we go.
The federal courts and ultimately, the United States Supreme Court will have to decide these different cases, and the applicability of FTC rule making on the soverignity of the states to make their own dental practice laws.
This will take time and this overreach by the Federal Trade Commission could very well be reversed should President Obama not be re-elected in 2012.
Look for a protracted constitutional legal battle though.