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Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

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ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN KROGER ANNOUNCES $3.3 MILLION SETTLEMENT WITH BAYER HEALTH CARE OVER UNSUPPORTED CLAIMS THAT VITAMINS PREVENT CANCER

October 26, 2010

Future marketing campaigns for One A Day Men's Vitamins can only make claims that are supported by science.

Attorney General John Kroger today announced a $3.3 million settlement with Bayer Healthcare over the company's unsupported claim that One A Day Men's multivitamins reduced the risk of prostate cancer.

"It is unlawful to make health claims that are not backed up by science," said Keith Dubanevich, Chief of Staff and Special Counsel to Attorney General Kroger. "Consumers are entitled to know the truth about what they are buying."

Oregon will receive $1,165,000 of the settlement, which was also negotiated with California and Illinois. The multi-state investigation alleged that Bayer made promotional claims even though the company knew or should have known its multivitamins do not decrease the risk of cancer. In fact, high doses of some ingredients in the vitamins may actually increase the danger of prostate cancer in some men.

Along with a national television advertising campaign, a key example in the case was Bayer's "Strike Out Prostate Cancer" promotion with Major League Baseball. In the campaign, Bayer used billboards, print and broadcast advertisements and testimonials from professional baseball players suggesting One A Day men's products reduced the risk of prostate cancer.

Under the terms of today's settlement, Bayer cannot market its One a Day men's products as preventing prostate cancer or any other disease unless the claims are based on competent and reliable scientific evidence.

The settlement provides that:

  • Bayer may not make any misleading representations about the health benefits, performance or efficacy of its One A Day multivitamins or any other claims that cannot be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence;
  • The company may not assert that One A Day Men's Vitamins are effective in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any disease unless the claim comports with applicable federal rules and regulations and is backed up by competent and reliable scientific evidence; and
  • If Bayer makes any representation regarding the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any disease, the company must continue to monitor the claim for accuracy and make changes to its promotion and packaging in a reasonable time, if necessary.

Senior Assistant Attorney General David Hart, Assistant Attorney in Charge of Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection, handled the case for the Oregon Department of Justice.

Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.

Contact:

Kate Medema, 503-378-6002, kate.e.medema@doj.state.or.us |
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