Bayer could be facing multiple lawsuits over disease-preventing claims for its One A Day multivitamins. Warning that it might sue Bayer, the Center for Science in the Public Interest laid out its case today in a letter to the company.
CSPI pointed to One A Day's marketing materials, labels and website that claim the vitamins "support" breast, heart, eye, joint health, physical energy, immunity, healthy blood pressure, bone strength and metabolism.
Unless Bayer modifies its claims, CSPI threatened to file lawsuits "in several states."
"These claims imply, or in some cases explicitly state, that Bayer's health benefits have been scientifically established. Therefore, Bayer's claims must satisfy the Federal Trade Commission's requirements for substantiation in order to be lawful," CSPI's litigation director Steve Gardner wrote in the letter to Bayer's svp Timothy Hayes.
In one instance, Bayer "is literally putting One A Day multivitamins on a par with mammograms," said Gardner. "Bayer is saying: 'Take these pills and you'll reduce your risk of breast cancer.' And elsewhere, when the company says it 'supports breast health,' it knows full well that cancer is far and away the top breast health issue for women."
Bayer said it received the letter and is reviewing it. "From an early review, it looks as though CSPI is reacting to certain claims that are not currently made in support of our products. We will provide a more official statement upon our complete review and will defend ourselves as appropriate," the company said in a statement.
This isn't the first time Bayer has faced legal action over the marketing of its multivitamins. In 2007, it paid $3.2 million as part of a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice over weight-loss claims for One A Day. In 2009, CSPI filed suit against Bayer for claims about its One A Day Men's multivitamins with selenium; Bayer settled a year later with a group of state attorneys general.