New science is always coming out to tout the benefits of this or that new drug or supplement. Recently, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has been touted as instrumental for maintaining a healthy brain. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that constitutes a primary structural component of the human brain, as well as other vital organs. As a result, drug companies have started including it in their supplements and advertising their products as having the ability to boost brain health and performance based on their inclusion of DHA.
For example, Bayer Healthcare allegedly advertised their Flintstones Healthy Brain Support Gummies as improving brain function because the gummies contain Omega-3 DHA. Liza Gershman has filed a class action consumer lawsuit against Bayer alleging there is no scientific evidence to support the assertion that DHA improves brain function. To back up this claim, Gershman sites five studies that found no significant difference between a placebo and DHA derived from algae (the same form of DHA used in Bayer’s supplements) on cognitive function.
Even if studies had succeeded in showing DHA as a valuable supplement, the lawsuit alleges the Flintstones Gummies contain only 50mg-100mg, which is allegedly so small as to be “trivial and meaningless”. The studies Gershman cites allegedly used much higher doses of DHA than what the gummies contain and they still found that it had no significant impact on brain health.
Gershman further argues that DHA, when consumed either as an oil or part of a supplement, such as the Flintstones Gummies, is not used by the body. Instead the body produces DHA from other dietary sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, Gershman says there is no need for DHA supplementation, as the average American produces enough DHA from the Omega-3 fatty acids in their diets. To back up her claim, she points to the fact that the American Food and Drug Administration recently denied a request to recognize a daily requirement for DHA.
Although producers of dietary supplements are not required to obtain approval from the FDA before producing or selling their supplements, they are subject to regulations under the Dietary Supplement health and Education Act of 1994. Under this Act, manufacturers are allegedly required to make sure all health benefit claims on their product’s package and label are true. This means they must be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence, which allegedly is not the case for Bayer’s gummies.
When marketing their Flintstones Gummies, Bayer allegedly mentioned only the inclusion of DHA to back up their claim that the gummies boost brain performance. As a result of this allegedly baseless claim, Gershman has filed her consumer class action lawsuit against Bayer alleging the use of advertising that is “false, misleading, and reasonably likely to deceive the public.”
The lawsuit is seeking certification of both nationwide and statewide classes, for which Gershwin is asking for restitution and disgorgement. The lawsuit is also asking that the court file an injunction against Bayer’s allegedly false advertising campaign and order Bayer to launch a new advertising campaign with the correct information. Bayer denies all of the claims.
Our Elgin, Illinois consumer rights private law firm handles individual and class action deceptive advertising, predatory lending, unfair debt collection, lemon law and other consumer fraud cases that government agencies and public interest law firms such as the Illinois Attorney General may not pursue. Class action lawsuits our law firm has been involved in or spear-headed have led to substantial awards totalling over a million dollars to organizations including the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Consumer Law Center, and local law school consumer programs. The Chicago consumer lawyers at DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle are proud of our achievements in assisting national and local consumer rights organizations obtain the funds needed to ensure that consumers are protected and informed of their rights. By standing up to consumer fraud and consumer rip-offs, and in the right case filing consumer protection lawsuits and class-actions you too can help ensure that other consumers’ rights are protected from consumer rip-offs and unscrupulous or dishonest practices.
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