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Improvita private-label item gets retailers in hot water


WASHINGTON As part of the fallout from last year’s settlement of false advertising claims made by Airborne Health to the tune of some $30 million, the Federal Trade Commission is now targeting store-brand suppliers and the respective retailers of “compare to” Airborne products that may have made similar claims.

“The FTC will hold retailers accountable for the claims they make on their store brand products,” stated FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz in announcing the first settlement with a drug store retailer specifically around Airborne-like claims that the dietary supplement could prevent or treat colds.

Rite Aid on Monday agreed to pay $500,000 to settle FTC charges around its “Germ Defense.” The private label supplier of Germ Defense, Improvita Health Products, has been charged with false and deceptive advertising in an ongoing case, the FTC announced.

In addition to Rite Aid, Improvita distributed “Germ Defense” products to Ahold, AmerisourceBergen, A&P, the Chain Drug Marketing Association, Cardinal Health, Harris Teeter, Marc’s, Kmart, Nash Finch, Walgreens and Winn-Dixie, according to the FTC complaint.

According to the FTC complaint, Improvita allegedly supplied the Germ Defense products to Rite Aid and other retailers, and provided advertising, packaging and promotional materials containing the unsubstantiated claims. Improvita also sold Germ Defense directly to consumers via an Internet site.

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