Corteva Agriscience is denying claims in an action filed by the Federal Trade Commission and 10 state attorneys general over marketing practices for its herbicides.
Corteva has administrative offices near Wilmington following a decision to move its headquarters to Indianapolis.
The company issued the following:
“Corteva believes there is no basis for the complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and that the FTC’s case faces significant hurdles on both the facts and the law. We will vigorously defend our position that Corteva’s customer marketing programs are fully compliant with the antitrust laws and are, in fact, pro-competitive programs that benefit both channel partners and farmers.
Corteva’s marketing programs, contrary to the FTC’s assertion that they block generics from entering the market, facilitate the company’s pro-competitive mission of providing innovative products, services, support and stewardship to customers through Corteva’s network of distributors and retailers.
As always, our aim is to provide significant value and choices to customers, allowing them to be more sustainable, productive and profitable in their operations. Corteva also equips them to provide consumers with a wider range of healthy and nutritious food options, as well as to produce fuel, feed and fiber to support the needs of society.
As a US-based innovator of crop protection products, this case threatens the pro-competitive investments that Corteva makes and that growers rely on to protect America’s crops. We are confident that we will prevail in this litigation and that there is no basis for the FTC’s complaint.”
The FTC and 10 state attorneys general filed a complaint in federal court against Corteva and Syngenta Crop Protection for allegedly paying distributors to block competitors from selling their cheaper generic products to farmers.
The complaint alleges tha “loyalty programs” in which distributors only get paid if they limit business with competing manufacturers.
“Cutting off competition has allowed the defendants to inflate their prices and force American farmers to spend millions of dollars more for their products. The complaint seeks to shut down this illegal pay-to-block scheme and restore competition to affected markets,” the FTC claimed.
“The FTC is suing to stop Syngenta and Corteva from maintaining their monopolies through harmful tactics that have jacked up pesticide prices for farmers,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. “By paying off distributors to block generic producers from the market, these giants have deprived farmers of cheaper and more innovative options. Our lawsuit in partnership with a bipartisan state coalition makes clear that we are united in our fight to stop abusive monopolies from squeezing America’s farmers.”
According to the FTC, the companies set up “loyalty” programs in which they make payments to distributors—as long as the distributors keep their purchases of competing generic pesticides beneath a very low threshold.
The Delaware Attorney General was not listed as a party in the complaint.