A $25 million multistate settlement has been reached in a lawsuit brought by 23 states. The litigation involved a vitamin price-fixing scheme that violated federal and state antitrust laws. It’s not clear exactly how much each state will receive from the settlement. That will be determined once court approval is obtained. The class action lawsuit was pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The settlement is the second to be reached on behalf of consumers and businesses that purchased certain vitamins between 1988 and 2000 and reside in the 23 settling states.
In 2000 several states reached a $225 million agreement involving the same vitamins but different manufacturers. The vitamins affected by this price fixing conspiracy are: vitamin A, astaxanthin, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B4 (choline chloride), vitamin B5 (calpan), vitamin B6, vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamine pharma), beta-carotene, vitamin C, canthaxanthin, vitamin E, and vitamin H (biotin) as well as all blends and forms of these vitamins. Also included is Premix, a product that contains one or more these vitamins in combination with other substances.
The Defendants named in the settlement agreement include: Akzo Nobel Inc.; Bioproducts Incorporated, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc.; Chinook Global Limited and Chinook Group, Inc.; Evonik Degussa GmbH, successor to Degussa AG, and Evonik Degussa Corporation; Lonza AG; Merck KGaA, E. Merck and EM Industries, Inc.; Nepera, Inc.; Sumitomo Chemical America, Inc. and Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd.; Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation and Tanabe U.S.A., Inc.; UCB Pharma, Inc.; and Vertellus Specialties Inc. and Vertellus Chemicals SA.
The following states and other entities participated in the settlement: Arizona, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Source: Associated Press
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