Idaho part of 22-state vitamin settlement

Nick Rees Dec. 1, 2009, 3:37pm


BOISE, Idaho (Legal Newsline) - Idaho businesses that were indirect purchasers of vitamins will see refunds following a legal settlement with a group of manufacturers, state Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has announced.

Idaho's settlement comes as part of a $25 million settlement, which is still subject to court approval, involving 21 other states over an alleged vitamin price-fixing conspiracy. The settlement, on behalf of consumers and businesses that purchased certain vitamins between 1988-2000, follows a $225 million settlement reached in 2000 involving different vitamin manufacturers.

"Many vitamin manufacturers agreed to fix the prices of vitamins they sold, which artificially raised the prices of vitamins and products containing vitamins," Wasden said.

Once court approval has been obtained for the settlement, Idaho businesses that purchased the vitamins named in the settlement from 1988-2000 will be eligible to make a claim for restitution.

Because of the large number of individual consumers affected, the settlement funds will be distributed by the attorneys general for each state to government or not-for-profit organizations to address nutrition and health matters as approved by the court.

The companies that sold vitamins with artificially raised prices and are parties to the settlement include Akzo Nobel, Inc.; Bioproducts Incorporated, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., and Mitsui & Co., 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 settlement was secured by the attorneys general in participating states in conjunction with the Richardson, et al. v. Akzo Bobel, Inc. et al., lawsuit, which is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

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