The settlement symbolizes a redress to Canadian consumers who purchased vitamins between 1986 and 1999. The action was brought about on behalf of direct purchasers, indirect purchasers and consumers of vitamins and vitamin products.
The entire settlement totals over $132mn and was originally approved in 2005 by the courts of Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec.
According to Quebec court documents, a Quebec consumer group initially sued over 15 companies for price-fixing. Then, in November 2005, vitamin manufacturers - including German F. Hoffman-LaRoche and BASF AG, French Rhone-Poulenc SA as well as Japanese Eisai Company and Daiichi Pharmaceutical Company - settled the lawsuit.
The most recent announcement almost doubles the amount of money distributed underthe settlement to Canadian charitable organizations, universities, research orconsumer services/protection organizations in Canada to date.
As the settlement amount cannot be economically distributed to individual consumersor farmers across Canada who purchased vitamins between 1986 and 1999 in lightof their sheer numbers and the likely small dollar amount per claim, thecourts approved the distribution of monies to organizations.
In class action cases such as these, the court allows for a settlement where redress isnot given on an individual basis but rather to be applied in the publicinterest. In this way, a grant or contribution is done in a manner thatbenefits the class and fulfills the goal of providing relief and redress.
Universities with doctoral programs in food and nutrition were chosen toreceive funds on behalf of consumers of vitamins and vitamin products.