Universities benefit from vitamin scam
The Universities of Alberta, Guelph
and British Columbia have been awarded millions of dollars to compensate for financial
damages resulting from an 8 year price fix on vitamins and food additives sold in
The University of Alberta, Guelph and British Colombia received $2.5 million
(US $2.26m), $4.8 million (US$4.15m) and $3.5 million (US$3.02m) respectively.
The University of Toronto and Ontario Agri-Food Education also received each
$2.4 million (US$2.07m). The funds must be used for research on vitamins as they
relate to the health of people and animals.
Penalty for price
The money is the universities' share of a
$132-million penalty against 14 international vitamin
giants accused of price fixing on 10 bulk vitamins and food additives sold in
Canada from 1990 to 1998. The countrywide conspiracy involved, amongst others,
F. Hoffman-LaRoche of Switzerland, BASF of Germany, Rhone-Poulenc of France and
two Japanese corporations, Eisai and Daiichi Pharmaceutical, of which most of
the companies involved have pleaded guilty
. Gross sales of the bulk vitamins during the time of the conspiracy are
estimated to have totalled about $950 million (US$822m) in Canada. It was
estimated some vitamins, including vitamin E which is used primarily in animal
feed, were marked up by 20%.
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