Health Care Product Reform by LawCrossing


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									Legal Daily News Feature

Health Care Product Reform
By Joshua Nave

Over the past year, the FTC has been targeting companies that sell health care products with deceptive and misleading advertising.

                              03/25/10                                   Health Products, maker of Wal-Born and other supplements,
                                                                         and in 2008 the FTC settled claims against Airborne Health,
                             The latest skirmish in this                 maker of the popular Airborne line of supplements.
                             ongoing battle was resolved
                             this week when the consumer                 Wal-Born, Airborne, and other similar products are marketed
chain Walgreens, who was represented by McDermott Will &                 without being tested by the FDA due to a loophole that allows
Emery, agreed to pay $6 million to the FTC and to remove                 dietary supplements to be marketed without FDA approval.
labeling from its ‘’Wal-Born’’ line of products that claim the           But like any product, manufacturers are still obligated to
supplements boost the immune system, preventing or curing                support any claims made in advertising or labeling. One
the cold or the flu. In a public statement, Walgreens said               study conducted on Airborne did show that it was effective
‘’We maintain there is evidence [Wal-Born] can support the               at boosting the immune system, but that study was
immune system, and will continue to carry the product, but we            commissioned by Knight-McDowell Labs - the same company
have changed the packaging’’, according to this article at the           that manufactures the product, according to ConsumerAffairs.
Blog of the Legal Times.                                                 com.

Last year Walgreens settled a separate class action lawsuit              State governments are also getting involved. Colorado
regarding Wal-born and gave customers their choice of a $15              recently settled a case against Nutra Pills, Inc. In this
refund or a free flu shot. The time to redeem those claims               instance, the problem wasn’t deceptive labeling but rather
expired in September. Part of the settlement money paid to               deceptive marketing. The company ran afoul of the state’s
the FTC in the latest settlement will be used to pay the claims          consumer protection laws that ban so called ‘’free-to-pay
in the class action suit.                                                conversion’’. Customers that signed up for free trials used
                                                                         their credit cards to pay for shipping and handling, unaware
This settlement follows on the heels of last year’s settlements          that they were also enrolling in an ongoing purchase plan if
with rival chains CVS and Rite-Aid for what the FTC claims is            they failed to affirmatively cancel. Such conversions violate
deceptive labeling of their products. But the FTC is not just            Colorado law.
targeting retailers. Litigation is ongoing against Improvita

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