SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Attorney General Jerry Brown announced a $3.3 million settlement Tuesday in a San Diego Superior Court case involving Bayer Healthcare over the claim its One-A-Day men's multivitamins can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
"By virtue of this settlement," Brown said, "Bayer has stopped making totally unsubstantiated claims that its One-A-Day multivitamins can reduce men's risk of developing prostate cancer."
Brown joined state attorneys general in Oregon and Illinois in the settlement. The state of California will receive more than $1 million for its Consumer Protection Fund, Brown said.
Tuesday's settlement will prevent Bayer from making claims about its products that are not based on sound and reliable scientific evidence, according to Brown.
According to Brown's complaint, Bayer knew, or should have known, that its advertisements made misleading claims about the mineral selenium, which is found in its One-A-Day Men's Health Formula and One-A-Day Men's 50+ multivitamins.
The ads claim that "emerging research" suggested selenium may reduce the risk of prostate cancer, according to the complaint.
In 2008, Bayer launched its "strike out prostate cancer" campaign that made deceptive claims about the One-A-Day products' ability to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer, according to the complaint.
As part of its campaign, Bayer entered into a promotional relationship with Major League Baseball in which the company advertised that its multivitamins during games and used Major League Baseball graphics and players to promote its One-A-Day products, according to the complaint.
But there was broad scientific consensus that selenium did not reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and that assessment was confirmed in October 2008 with the results of a clinical trial funded by the National Institute of Health, the complaint stated.
Nevertheless, Bayer continued to used the "emerging research" claim in television and print advertising until June 2009. In addition, the claim remained on the packaging for One-A-Day Men's Health Formula products that appeared on store shelves until as recently as May 2010, according to the complaint.
In 2009, Brown's office required Bayer Corp. to stop its deceptive ad campaign for the oral contraceptive, "Yaz," and to spend $20 million to publicly correct misleading assertions about the product. Bayer claimed the drug could treat symptoms related to premenstrual syndrome and acne -- claims that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
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