(En)force to be reckoned with

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Companies that sign settlements with the FTC need to know that those documents contain consumer protection provisions enforceable in court.  That’s the message of a motion for contempt just filed against Bayer Corporation by the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, with the assistance of the FTC.

The action stems from a massive campaign Bayer runs for Phillips’ Colon Health.  Packaging, TV commercials, and print ads – which often feature “The Colon Lady” – expressly claim the product can “defend against” occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas, and bloating.  The lawsuit alleges that Bayer's ads imply to consumers that Phillips' Colon Health prevents, treats, and cures those conditions.  People spent hundreds of millions on dollars on the product, but according to the complaint, Bayer didn’t have competent and reliable scientific evidence to support those representations.

Standing alone, that would be a serious allegation – but there’s more to the story.  In 1991, the FTC filed a lawsuit against Miles, Inc., a predecessor of Bayer, for unsubstantiated claims for One-A-Day multivitamins.  That case ended with a settlement requiring the company to have competent and reliable scientific evidence to support representations about One-A-Day.

Then in 2007, the United States filed an action alleging that Bayer had violated the FTC order by making unproven metabolism and weight control claims for One-A-Day WeightSmart.  That settlement included a $3.2 million civil penalty and provisions banning misrepresentations about the benefits, performance, efficacy, or safety of any dietary supplement, multivitamin, or weight control product.

The Motion to Show Cause just filed by the Department of Justice alleges that Bayer's unsubstantiated claims for Phillips' Colon Health violate the terms of that 2007 FTC order.  The action is pending in federal court in New Jersey.

 

Comments

I want some answers! Now!
Good Job for catching this, that company is into a lot more than they are being caught for. Company insider info.
I have used the product, I actually still have the product, I actually said the exact same thing that it doesn't work. What a waste
I read these blogs quite often. Thanks for bringing these get rich quick in-humanistic culprit to to the attention of the public. Although most of the public are still in the dark. I notice that the courts always settle these cases for millions sometime billions of $$$$, and yet the public (consumers) who suffer the side effects and spend thousands of dollars in medical fees only end up with a check for $10, or $25.00 at at the most $500.00. Where does the monies paid by these killers go? It seem to me that only the lawyers and the government benefit for these settlements, while the public spend the rest of their lives paying the medical bills for the side effect that these drugs inflicted upon them. LF

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