Rite Aid settles Germ Defense case
This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet
Rite Aid Corp. agrees to pay $50,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations it misled consumers by advertising the Germ Defense supplement could treat and prevent colds and flu. Rite Aid compared Germ Defense, manufactured for the chain by Improvita Health Products, to Airborne Health Inc.'s Airborne, according to FTC's complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Airborne Health faced similar FTC charges and agreed to pay up to $30 million in consumer redress for misleading advertising (1"The Tan Sheet" Aug. 18, 2008). FTC is currently litigating a related complaint against Cleveland-based Improvita in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
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The Federal Trade Commission distributed more than 2,335 refund checks to consumers who purchased Rite Aid Germ Defense tablets and lozenges, stemming from the agency's July 2009 complaint against Rite Aid for unsupported claims that the products could reduce the risk of, or prevent colds and flu (1"The Tan Sheet" July 20, 2009). As part of a settlement with the firm, FTC mailed refund checks to consumers on June 7; consumers could submit refund requests for up to six packages of Germ Defense, either electronically or by mail, by Jan. 30. The average check totals $20.44, FTC says. The agency charged Rite Aid and its supplier with false and deceptive advertising as part of its crackdown on firms making "unproven" claims about cold and flu remedies
CVS Pharmacy will pay nearly $2.8 million to settle FTC allegations it falsely advertised that its AirShield dietary supplement prevents colds, fights germs and boosts the immune system. FTC alleged the drugstore chain had no evidence to support the claims, according to a Sept. 8 FTC announcement. The allegations are similar to those FTC made against Airborne Health, Improvita Health Products and Rite Aid for similar supplements. Rite Aid paid $500,000 to settle allegations its Germ Defense ads misled consumers (1"The Tan Sheet" July 20, 2009). Airborne agreed to pay up to $30 million in consumer redress for alleged false ads (2"The Tan Sheet" Aug. 18, 2008). FTC is in litigation with Improvita
Under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission announced Aug. 14, the maker of Airborne dietary supplement products must cease unsubstantiated health-related claims and contribute up to $6.5 million to an existing consumer redress fund