FTC and Bipartisan AG Coalition Bring Antitrust Case Against Pesticide Manufacturers for Allegedly Inflating Prices

  • The FTC and a group of 12 AGs filed a lawsuit in the Middle District of North Carolina against pesticide manufacturers Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC, Syngenta’s related entities, and Corteva, Inc., alleging that they violated the FTC Act, the Clayton Act, the Sherman Act, and state competition and consumer protection laws by utilizing “loyalty programs” to limit the availability of lower-priced generic products.
  • According to the complaint, the defendants’ “loyalty programs” with distributors are unlawful exclusionary schemes that are designed to maintain excessive, supra-competitive prices on their pesticides and exclude competitive generic products. Under the loyalty programs, the defendants would allegedly make payments to distributors in exchange for the distributors limiting their purchases from generic competitors. Because a small number of distributors dominate sales of pesticides in the U.S., the exclusionary programs allegedly foreclosed generic competitors from distributing their products to farmers after the expiration of relevant patent and regulatory exclusivity periods and caused farmers to pay inflated prices for the defendants’ products
  • The lawsuit seeks many different types of relief, including equitable relief, disgorgement, treble damages, civil penalties, and costs and fees.