VITAMIN INDUSTRY: Four Execs Found Guilty of Price Fixing
Four former executives of European vitamin companies have agreed to plead guilty, pay fines and serve prison sentences for "scheming to fix the prices of an alphabet soup of vitamins around the world during the 1990s." Swiss nationals Andreas Hauri and Dieter Suter were charged along with Germans Reinhard Steinmetz and Hugo Strotmann. Hauri was the marketing director for Hoffmann-LaRoche's vitamin division and the latter three were top executives at BASF. The four pleaded guilty to conspiring to "raise and fix the prices and allocate the sales of volumes of vitamins sold in the United States and abroad," including vitamins A, B2, B5, C, E and beta carotene. The charges, filed by the Justice Department in U.S. District Court in Dallas, will boost the department's total collection in criminal fines for the "world vitamin conspiracy" up to over $725 million, "the largest and most far-reaching cartel ever prosecuted by the antitrust division" (Sniffen, AP/Los Angeles Times, 4/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.