By: Staff Writers | Published: October 28th, 2010
Bayer has reached a $3.3 million settlement with three states who sued the company over marketing claims that it’s One A Day Men’s multivitamins reduced the chances of developing prostate cancer.
The One-A-Day Vitamin settlement was reached between Bayer, California, Illinois and Oregon. The agreement includes a commitment by Bayer not to make any future claims about the One A Day Cancer benefits. The company also agreed that any future claims of health benefits will be backed by sound science.
Last October, Bayer was sued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) over its One A Day prostate cancer-fighting claims. Prior to filing the lawsuit, CSPI contacted Bayer and requested the company remove its selenium claims after two recent studies found that selenium provides no prostate cancer prevention benefits, and also suggested that men who took selenium may face an increased risk of diabetes. However, talks broke down between the two groups.
CSPI’s lawsuit was dismissed for technical reasons, according to the consumer advocacy group. In a press release announcing the settlement, the group says that it has no need to file another lawsuit since the settlement achieves all of its goals.
The states moved in when CSPI’s lawsuit failed, saying that Bayer was using fear of prostate cancer as a deceptive form of advertising. Bayer promoted the multivitamins in a “Strike Out Prostate Cancer” campaign partnered with Major League Baseball and mentioned on labels that “emerging science” suggested that selenium helped prevent prostate cancer; a claim some experts dispute.
As part of the settlement, each of the three states will receive about $1 million. In addition, Bayer has agreed not to make any representation about the health benefits of One A Day Men’s multivitamins unless it is not misleading and relies upon reliable scientific evidence. Bayer has also agreed not to make any claims that it’s multivitamins diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent any disease unless the claim conforms with federal regulations.
This is not the first time that Bayer has run into trouble over its advertising practices. Late last year, the company was forced to run a $20 million corrective advertising campaign for its Yaz birth control pills over false claims about the drug’s acne and PMS-fighting benefits, and because the ads did not clearly state all of the known Yaz side effects, drowning some of them out with loud music. As a result of the misleading advertisements, Bayer agreed that the FDA will screen future Yaz ads for six years before they can be aired.
Bayer also had to pay $3.2 million in civil fines to the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice in 2007 for weight-loss claims made in connection with its One-A-Day vitamins.