|Unhealthy Vitamin Prices|
|Subject||Cartels and Joint Profit Maximization|
|Key Words||Price, Sales, Cartels, Competitions, Fixing Prices|
The Justice Department has been investigating the markets for vitamins over recent years, obtaining price and sales information from major manufacturers such as Hoffman-LaRoche, BASF, and Rhone-Poulenc. This has culminated in prosecutions of international cartels.
In the market for vitamin B3, also known as niacin and niacinamide, the Swiss manufacturing firm Lonza has pleaded guilty to charges of fixing prices worldwide by agreeing with other major producers to eliminate competition from 1992 through 1998. The company faces a fine of $10.5 million.
In the market for B4, choline chloride, executives from Canada's Chinook Group and DuCoa pled guilty to agreeing to set prices, divide markets, allocate customers, and rig bids. They face fines and jail sentences.
The Justice Department says that consumers have probably been charged hundreds of millions of dollars more than they should have. Consumers are unlikely to see price reductions because the vitamin makers lowered and varied prices when the probe began.
(Updated April 1, 1999)
|Source||Jayne O'Donnell, "Swiss firm illegally set prices of vitamin B3", USA Today, March 3, 1999.|
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