A class-action suit alleges that anticompetitive behavior by Idexx Laboratories has caused pet owners to pay artificially inflated prices for point-of-care diagnostics.
The suit was filed July 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking an injunction against Idexx and damages for 22 pet owners and all others similarly situated.
In the market for point-of-care diagnostics for companion animals in the U.S., according to the lawsuit, Idexx has a more than 70% share of sales of analyzers and compatible consumables and a more than 70% share of sales of single-use rapid test kits.
In 2013, Idexx dropped an arrangement with MWI Veterinary Supply for MWI to carry Idexx diagnostic products exclusively, resolving charges by the Federal Trade Commission that Idexx was using exclusive arrangements with distributors to stifle competition. Idexx agreed to a settlement order prohibiting concurrent exclusive distribution arrangements with the three top distributors of products to small animal veterinarians.
According to the new class-action lawsuit, Idexx then pivoted to all direct sales. According to the suit: “After cutting out the distributors, IDEXX proceeded to lock the vast majority of veterinary practices into long-term exclusive agreements, thereby substantially foreclosing competition, and maintaining and enhancing its monopoly power over POC Diagnostic Products. As a result of this anticompetitive scheme, IDEXX has been able to impose supracompetitive prices for POC Diagnostic Products on Plaintiffs and members of the Class.”
In a statement, Idexx responded: “We believe the claims are meritless and will vigorously defend against them. Since this is ongoing litigation, we are unable to provide further comment at this time.
“IDEXX is passionate about supporting veterinarians and advancing the standard of pet healthcare. We value the partnerships we have with our veterinary customers and are relentlessly focused on innovating and providing effective solutions so that they can help pets lead longer, fuller lives.”