Dietary Supplements Manufacturer Of Cold Remedies Settles False Claims Lawsuit

With the proposed new supplements regulations on dietary supplements, this is something the industry would want kicked under the rug quick. A supplements manufacturer has agreed to pay fines totaling 1.5 million for false and misleading advertising while marketing supposed cold remedies.

A dietary supplement distributor has agreed to pay $1.5 million in civil penalties and costs to settle a lawsuit filed by 10 California counties that accused it of engaging in false and misleading advertising, prosecutors said today.

The settlement with Iovate Health Sciences, a Canadian corporation based in Oakville, Ontario, and its American affiliate, Iovate Health Sciences USA, Inc., is the second largest dietary supplement settlement in California history, according to prosecutors.

The suit was brought by the district attorney’s offices in Alameda, Napa, Marin, Monterey, Orange, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Solano and Sonoma counties and the settlement was signed in Napa County Superior Court.

The suit alleged that the company engaged in false and misleading advertising in connection with the marketing and sale of some of its dietary supplement products and violated Proposition 65, which requires a warning label on products that expose consumers to more than one-half microgram of lead a day.

The settlement calls on the Iovate companies to pay $1.2 million in civil penalties that will provide support for the future enforcement of California consumer protection laws as well as $300,000 for investigative costs.

Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Scott Patton, one of the prosecutors involved in the case, said state action against the companies was necessary because the federal government doesn’t regulate the dietary supplement market.

He said unlike prescription medication, dietary supplements do not need to be pre-approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration before they can be sold to consumers and a dietary supplement can be sold without prior government approval or proof that it is either safe or effective for its intended use.

Patton said the suit alleged that the Iovate companies were making claims that their products could cure colds and diseases without any scientific proof to back up those claims. See original story

Indeed, “cure” is just a four letter word but with six figure (or more) repercussions. Even licensed healthcare professionals are extremely careful about throwing this word out there. It is one thing to market cold remedies as well as other remedies as just that, but another thing altogether to promise a cure. Okay, we don’t know for sure that the company promised a cure;  it’s just what the quoted report suggests. Still, caution must be taken to not even remotely suggest a cure. We get many guest posts on this blog but reject outright anything with “cure” in it. If you ever come across one article with that word in it please let us know and it will be pulled right away.

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