Part III Administrative Complaint
The Commission settled a September 15 2003 administrative complaint charging the South Carolina State Board of Dentistry with unlawfully restraining competition by enacting a rule that required a dentist to examine every child before a dental hygienist could provide preventive dental care – such as cleanings – in schools. The Board, which is a state regulatory agency composed primarily of practicing dentists, claimed that its actions were immune from antitrust challenge under the state action doctrine, but that argument was rejected in a 2004 Commission opinion holding that the Board’s conduct was directly contrary to state law. In 2006, the court of appeals dismissed the Board’s interlocutory petition for review for lack of jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court denied certiorari in January 2007. The FTC’s 2007 consent requires the Board to publicly support the current state public health program that allows hygienists to provide preventive dental care to schoolchildren, especially those from low-income families.