Record fines for vitamin cartel

ROCHE, the Swiss drugs giant, has been fined $500m - the largest criminal fine in US history - after pleading guilty to charges that one of its units had led a global vitamins price-fixing conspiracy, the US Justice Department said yesterday.

BASF, Europe's largest chemical company, also agreed to pay $225m. The European Commission said yesterday it was looking at whether European drugs companies had been involved in a vitamin price-fixing cartel, but a final decision was still a long way off.