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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
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October 26, 2010

ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN ANNOUNCES $3.3 MILLION SETTLEMENT WITH
BAYER HEALTHCARE OVER CLAIMS VITAMINS PREVENTED PROSTATE CANCER

Bayer Must Back Up One A Day Menís Vitamin Marketing Claims With Science

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined state attorneys general in California and Oregon today to announce a $3.3 million dollar settlement with Bayer Healthcare over the companyís alleged misleading claims that its One A Day Menís multivitamins reduced the risk of prostate cancer.

Madigan filed a complaint and subsequent settlement in Cook County Circuit Court alleging Bayer violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act by deceptively claiming its One A Day Menís multivitamins reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. The complaint alleges Bayer made these promotional claims even though the company knew or should have known its multivitamins do not decrease the risk of this cancer, and that high doses of some ingredients in the vitamins may actually increase the risk of prostate cancer in some men.

ďConsumers rely on statements made by multivitamin manufacturers when making choices about their health,Ē Attorney General Madigan said. ďWhen manufacturers, like Bayer, make marketing claims with insufficient scientific proof behind them, they are misleading consumers. This lawsuit ensures that Bayer must back up its advertising pitches with reliable scientific evidence.Ē

Bayerís ďStrike Out Prostate CancerĒ campaign, in which the company partnered with Major League Baseball to promote the One a Day Menís products, is highlighted in the complaint as an example of the allegedly deceptive marketing claims. In that campaign, Bayer used billboards, print and broadcast advertisements, and testimonials from professional baseball players to make implied claims that One A Day Menís Products reduced the risk of prostate cancer.

Under the terms of the settlement, Bayer is prohibited from marketing its One a Day Menís products as preventing prostate cancer, or any other disease, unless the claims are based on competent and reliable scientific evidence.

Specifically, the settlement mandates:

  • Bayer not make any representation about the health benefits, performance or efficacy of any of its One A Day multivitamins unless the representation is non-misleading, and, at the time the representation is made, Bayer possesses and relies upon competent and reliable scientific evidence;

  • Bayer not make representations that its One A Day Menís multivitamins are effective in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any disease unless the claim comports with applicable federal law and regulations, is non-misleading and Bayer possesses and relies upon competent and reliable scientific evidence in making the claim; and

  • If Bayer makes a representation regarding the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any disease, the company must continue to monitor the claim to ensure it remains accurate and make changes to its promotion and packaging within a reasonable time if necessary.

Under the settlement, the State of Illinois will receive more than $1 million to fund consumer protection work, including consumer education and enforcement of the consumer fraud laws.

Assistant Attorney General Vaishali Rao and Bureau Chief Jim Kole handled the case for Madiganís Consumer Fraud Bureau.

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