$19.6 Million Settlement Granted Preliminary Approval in Massachusetts Consumer Class Action for Vitamin Price-Fixing, Says Ellis & Rapacki LLP

Money to be Distributed to Massachusetts Charities for Food

BOSTON, April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- A state court judge today granted preliminary approval to a $19.6 million class action settlement of Massachusetts consumers' price-fixing claims against six pharmaceutical companies: Aventis Animal Nutrition S.A., BASF Corporation, Daiichi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Eisai Co., Ltd., Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. and Takeda Chemical Industries Ltd. Under the terms of the settlement, the money will be distributed to charitable organizations in Massachusetts for purposes of food and nutrition programs. The class action, filed in June of 1999, alleged that the settling companies and others engaged in an international conspiracy over a ten year period to fix prices and allocate markets for bulk vitamins which are used in many processed products, including cereals, milk and bread.

The settlement comes on the heels of a landmark decision by the Supreme Judicial Court that allowed the consumers' claim to proceed under the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act. "This settlement serves a number of purposes: it alerts corporations that illegal price-fixing schemes will lead to substantial consequences if they are directed at consumers in Massachusetts, and it benefits Massachusetts consumers by earmarking a substantial sum of money to assist programs that provide food and nutritional services to infants and children, families, the elderly, and others in need," said Fredric L. Ellis, lead counsel for the consumer class. "In these times of budget cutbacks, such funds are sorely needed."

Persons wishing to nominate charitable organizations to receive grants from the settlement fund may contact Attorney Fredric L. Ellis at Ellis & Rapacki LLP, 85 Merrimac Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02114. Consumers who desire more information about the settlement may access the internet at http://www.massvitaminlitigation.com or may telephone 617-523-4800.

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