Consumer Fraud

Companies face fraud claims over dietary supplements

dietary supplements pills probiotics Companies face fraud claims over dietary supplementsTarget, Walgreens and Wal-Mart must face the majority of claims in a consumer-led multidistrict litigation over issues that they sold herbal supplements made by NBTY Inc., that did not contain the ingredients listed on the label, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve ordered, striking down the companies’ motions to dismiss the complaint.

The consumers are basing their claims on a study conducted by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office. The investigation involved DNA testing of NBTY dietary supplement samples purchased at Target, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart stores. Schneiderman’s 2015 investigation revealed that the majority of dietary supplements tested did not contain the herbal ingredients listed on the label.

Following his findings, about 20 lawsuits were filed against the companies alleging the companies committed fraud and violated state consumer protection laws. The lawsuits were consolidated in the Northern District of Illinois in June 2015.

The consumers claim that had they known the dietary supplements did not contain the ingredients listed on the label, they would never have purchased the products. Instead, they claim, the supplements contained filler ingredients – such as rice, beans, pine, citrus, asparagus, primrose and wheat – which could cause allergic reactions in consumers with food allergies.

Target, Walgreens and Wal-Mart argued that the group of consumers could not rest their entire case on what the New York Attorney General had uncovered.

Judge. St. Eve countered that, “there is no reason to believe the (New York Attorney General) inaccurately reported the testing it conducted, and there is no reason to believe that the (New York Attorney General) is anything other than a reliable government source….This is not a case where plaintiffs are simply relying on stray remarks fresh off the rumor mill.”

Source: Law360