On September 26, 2022, the Honorable Trina L. Thompson of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California appointed Cohen Milstein Interim Co-Lead Class Counsel in Yuen, et al. v. IDEXX Laboratories, Inc., et al., a putative antitrust class action which alleges that IDEXX engaged in an anticompetitive scheme, causing pet owners to pay artificially inflated prices for inhouse point-of-care (“POC”) analyzers, consumables, and single-use rapid test kits used by veterinarians to diagnose and treat family pets.
IDEXX is the nation’s dominant provider of “POC Diagnostic Products,” having more than a 70% share of sales in the United States. POC Diagnostic Products consist of diagnostic laboratory tests provided by veterinary practices to treat family pets when fast test results are needed, including:
- POC diagnostic testing devices or instruments, also referred to as “analyzers,”
- Supplies used in conjunction with POC diagnostic testing, such as, e.g., reagents, slides, etc., and
- Single use rapid test kits used by veterinarians to run critical in-house laboratory tests.
Over the years, IDEXX has repeatedly violated the antitrust laws to maintain and enhance its dominance. For example, in 2013, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) directed IDEXX to discontinue its use of illegal long-term exclusive distribution agreements with the three national distributors and required that future distribution agreements be non-exclusive and capped at two years (with a one-year renewal). The FTC further prohibited IDEXX from withholding or threatening to withhold its products from the distributors or retaliating against them for carrying POC Diagnostic Products made by IDEXX’s rivals.
Plaintiffs allege that IDEXX continues to violate antitrust laws despite the FTC’s 2013 order. For instance, Plaintiffs allege that starting in 2015 IDEXX upended its entire distribution network—cutting loose the distributors it previously had relied on—and began to sell directly to veterinary practices in order to perpetuate its stranglehold on the market without violating the letter of the FTC’s order.
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 supra-competitive prices for POC Diagnostic Products on Plaintiffs and other pet owners and will continue to do so unless Plaintiffs’ lawsuit succeeds in restoring competition to the market.
Case style: Yuen, et al. v. IDEXX Laboratories, Inc., et al., Case No. 3:22-cv-04297, United States District Court for the Northern District of California