Supplement Deceptively Marketed to Consumers Nationwide
MADISON, CONN., November 19, 2014 — Three of the nation’s largest retailers, Walmart, Supervalu, and Walgreens, are misleading consumers through the promotion and labeling of the popular joint pain remedy, glucosamine, according to a class-action lawsuit that is reaching settlement. The deal? One million dollars will be divided among class members nationwide and in exchange the retailers will be permitted to carry on with their deceptive marketing practices, argues advocacy group, truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org) who is objecting to the proposed settlement.
For years, people suffering from joint pain and arthritis have been encouraged to reach for glucosamine, advertised not only to ease pain but also to protect and even rebuild cartilage. Sales of the remedy, one of the most common dietary supplements used in the US, topped $750 million in 2012.
But according to numerous class-action lawsuits filed against supplement makers across the nation, there is insufficient scientific support for these claims. Studies have shown that glucosamine, with or without chondroitin, is no better than a placebo in reducing the symptoms and/or progression of osteoarthritis, nor has it been found to help grow cartilage.
TINA.org’s analysis shows that while the settlement reached in this case offers partial cash refunds to consumers, the proposed marketing changes are essentially worthless – merely prohibiting retailers from using six specific words on labels (never mind that anyone with a thesaurus can get around this) and then only for two years. Meaning the companies can go right back to using the six blacklisted words in a scant 24 months while consumers will be forever prohibited from doing anything about it according to the terms of the settlement.
“It’s outrageous that a class action lawsuit can silence an entire nation of consumers who purchased these glucosamine supplements, while the retailers are permitted to continue on with their deceptive labeling practices,” said TINA.org Executive Director Bonnie Patten
Consumers affected by this settlement have until Nov. 24 to object, opt out, or file a claim. TINA.org is asking the court to reject the proposed settlement.