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Roche says provisions cover US vitamin deal

Swiss pharmaceutical group, Roche, says it has enough money put aside to cover its share of a $255 million settlement, which six vitamin manufacturers must pay to US states.

The costs relate to a settlement agreed by Roche and five European and Japanese vitamin firms, which were charged with price fixing in the vitamin market.

A Roche spokesman confirmed that the companies had agreed on the sum of $255 million to compensate states and indirect purchasers of vitamins. As part of the agreement, Roche will pay $142.4 million plus lawyers' fees.

He added that Roche had put aside SFr2.4 billion ($1.38 billion) to cover its exposure.

"There is no bad surprise. We are close to having this whole issue settled," the Roche spokesman said. The settlement has still to be approved by a US court.

The latest settlement with the US states comes after a similar deal Roche struck with the US federal government. Other states are still pursuing separate settlements, and reviews by the European Union, Japan and other countries are pending.

The other firms involved are Germany's BASF, French group, Aventis, and Japanese companies, Takeda Chemical Industries, Eisai and Daiichi Pharmaceuticals.

This latest agreement covers 23 states, which are recovering the money for "indirect purchasers" - those who bought products containing the vitamins.

Another agreement is due to be announced by 43 states, which are pursuing compensation worth $30 million for paying inflated prices for food containing vitamin additives.

swissinfo with agencies


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