Iowa joins 9 states in suing ag pesticide makers, alleging anticompetitive practices




  • In Business
  • 2022-09-30 10:33:19Z
  • By The Des Moines Register

Iowa has joined nine other states and the Federal Trade Commission in filing a lawsuit against pesticide makers Syngenta and Corteva, alleging anti-competitive practices that have cost farmers millions of dollars.

The complaint, filed in a U.S. District Court in North Carolina, accuses the companies of using "loyalty programs" with pesticide distributors to exclude generic competitors from the market.

"Farmers are paying unnecessarily high prices for pesticides, on top of soaring costs for other inputs," said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, whose office worked with the Illinois attorney general's office to lead the states' investigation. "The defendants' practices are unfair to smaller competitors and ultimately harm consumers."

More:California suit alleges Amazon 'stifled competition' in breaking antitrust laws, raising prices

Neither Switzerland-based, Chinese-owned Syngenta nor Corteva, an Indianapolis company, immediately responded to the lawsuit Thursday evening. Corteva, the parent of Johnston-based Pioneer Hi-Bred, has large seed operations across Iowa.

Iowa and nine other states have sued pesticide makers Syngenta and Corteva, alleging anti-competitive practices that have cost farmers millions of dollars.
Iowa and nine other states have sued pesticide makers Syngenta and Corteva, alleging anti-competitive practices that have cost farmers millions of dollars.  

The loyalty programs, according to the lawsuit, reward distributors for selling Syngenta and Corteva products while excluding or minimizing their sales of generic products, even though the two companies' patents and other protections have expired. As a result, the companies are able to "maintain high prices and dominant market positions years after exclusivity for an active ingredient has expired," the suit says.

More:Giant pork producer JBS to pay $20 million to settle price fixing lawsuit

The companies' "schemes have forced generic manufacturers to exit markets encumbered by loyalty programs or to decide not to enter due to those programs," the complaint said. "These unlawful business practices have cost farmers many millions of dollars a year."

The lawsuit, which accuses Syngenta and Corteva of violating state and federal laws, asks the court to end the loyalty programs and grant restitution to farmers in Iowa and other states.

Syngenta and Corteva are among the largest makers of crop-protection products in the United States. The companies' products are used on a wide range of crops, including corn and soybeans.

More:Beef giant JBS to pay $52.5 million to settle price-fixing lawsuit

To encourage innovation, companies such as Syngenta and Corteva can initially develop, patent, and register active ingredients in their products and exploit their commercial potential exclusively for several years, the complaint says. But after those protections expire, generic manufacturers may enter the market, selling products with the same active ingredients and relying on the same toxicology and environmental impact studies.

This competition ordinarily leads to dramatic price reductions, benefiting farmers and consumers.

Corteva and Syngenta have entered into their loyalty program agreements with substantially all leading distributors in the United States, the suit alleges.

In addition to Iowa and Illinois, the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin joined the suit.

Donnelle Eller covers agriculture, the environment and energy for the Register. Reach her at deller@registermedia.com or 515-284-8457. 

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowa joins states suing Corteva, Syngenta over loyalty programs

COMMENTS

More Related News

Democrats make history, reorder the presidential primary calendar for 2024
Democrats make history, reorder the presidential primary calendar for 2024

The job of the committee, said member Stuart Appelbaum of New York, is "not just to choose states and the order in which they go, but to tell the story of...

Dems move to make South Carolina, not Iowa, 1st voting state
Dems move to make South Carolina, not Iowa, 1st voting state

Democrats voted Friday to remove Iowa as the leadoff state on the presidential nominating calendar and replace it with South Carolina starting in 2024, a...

DNC moves forward with dramatic change to presidential primary calendar
DNC moves forward with dramatic change to presidential primary calendar

Biden's proposal would have South Carolina hold Democrats' first presidential primary and Michigan and Georgia join the early states.

Democratic primary updates: Biden
Democratic primary updates: Biden's suggestion shifts DNC focus to Black voters in the South

A panel of the Democratic National Committee is expected to decide by Saturday which states go first in the presidential nomination process.

White House sparks primary firestorm by pushing South Carolina for top spot
White House sparks primary firestorm by pushing South Carolina for top spot

President Joe Biden is recommending that South Carolina kick off the 2024 presidential nominating contest, a move that immediately sparked internal divisions...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business