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Bayer Corporation Scrutinized for False Claims
- Updated: September 13, 2014
Bayer commercials are nothing new but one currently seen on television is getting the corporation in some hot water with the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ). This particular commercial involves a woman in an apron standing on a double decker bus talking about the importance of colon health.
Although the commercial may see innocent enough, the USDOJ is now claiming that the is making false claims specific to Bayer’s over-the-counter product, Phillips’ Colon Health. According to reports, officials allege that the product in the Bayer commercial defends against diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas but that it can also prevent, as well as treat and cure those said conditions.
The problem is that there is no known evidence to support the claims made in the “colon lady” Bayer commercial. Because of this, a civil contempt citation against the corporation is being sought by prosecutors. In a statement from Bayer, a spokesman says the corporation is very disappointed in the USDOJ’s motion but also strongly disagree.
Bayer went on to say that probiotic bacteria, which includes three specific species used in Phillips’ Colon Health have not only a long safety record but also one that is well-documented. They add that these records are supported by multiple human clinical studies on benefits to the digestive system.
In the statement, Bayer continued by saying that the corporation relied on the research for making the claims seen in the commercial, which includes that their product does in fact promote overall digestive health and aids in the defense against occasional diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas.
Bayer disputes the allegations made by the USDOJ that the corporation claimed that the product should be used to prevent, treat, or cure any disease. With these new allegations, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants Bayer to conduct tests on the Phillips’ Colon Health product similar to those done on prescription drugs but in response, the company states these tests are not necessary since the product is a dietary supplement, not drug.
To back up their request, the USDOJ pointed to a 2007 court order in which Bayer is prohibited from making unsubstantiated claims for any dietary supplements sold. This order was handed down after Bayer made a claim that their One-a-Day Weight Smart Multivitamins helped to prevent weight gain although there was not enough evidence to support it. As a result, Bayer was penalized $3.2 million.
As stated by Assistant Attorney General, Stuart F. Delery, the Bayer Corporation is mandated to abide by the 2007 court order stating they must back up any claims made about the products sold. Bayer responded saying the penalty had been paid but without any wrongdoing being admitted but also, that reliable evidence does support claims about Phillips’ Colon Health.
Companies that try to gain an unfair advantage over competitors is something the United States Justice Department will not tolerate.