Price-Fixing Vitamin Companies Still Under Fire

March 3, 2003

1 Min Read
Price-Fixing Vitamin Companies Still Under Fire

Price-Fixing Vitamin Companies Still Under Fire

WASHINGTON--The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 17foreign plaintiffs may file claims in U.S. courts for injuries received as aresult of worldwide anticompetitive activities. Under these antitrust laws,plaintiffs may bring suit against those companies named in the well-knownvitamin-price-fixing suit that has been making headlines over the years. Underthese laws, penalties up to three times the actual damages can be awarded.

Some of those involved in the price-fixing--including Hoffman-LaRoche (nowAventis), BASF and Thone-Poulenc--settled claims involving U.S. vitaminpurchasers several years ago for more than $1 billion. A trial against theremaining non-settling vitamin defendants is scheduled to begin in March, butonly with respect to domestic purchases.

"With respect to the vitamins cartel, this ruling means that litigationagainst the vitamin manufacturers by foreign plaintiffs for foreign purchaseswill continue in the trial court," said Paul Gallagher, a partner withCohen, Milstein Hausfeld & Toll, counsel for the foreign plaintiffs,"with the vitamins defendants being exposed in U.S. court to potentialdamages equaling or exceeding the amount of potential damages in the domesticcase. The implications to the vitamin defendants are enormous."

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