AAI Working Paper No. 06-02: The Great Global Vitamins Conspiracy: Sanctions and Deterrence

Abstract: This paper is an excerpt of a comprehensive examination of the global bulk vitamins cartels of the 1990s. Evidence is presented that these 16 interrelated cartels were the largest discovered international price-fixing schemes of the late 20th century in terms of affected commerce and direct overcharges. Although organizationally similar in many respects, the cartels also displayed a wondrous variety of collusive conducts. Only six of the cartels died natural deaths. There is little question that the convicted members of the vitamins cartels were in absolute monetary terms the most heavily sanctioned defendants in the history of antitrust law. Yet, it is equally non-controvertible that the impressive corporate monetary sanctions imposed worldwide were inadequate to deter recidivism.

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