News last update:6 Aug 2012

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 Canada.

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 fixing
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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