From California federal court comes a proposed class action over defendant CVS Pharmacy, Inc.’s allegedly unlawful and deceptive sale of Algal-900 DHA, a dietary supplement the company claims is “clinically shown to improve memory.”
The labels of Algal-900 DHA bottles prominently boast that the supplement is the only omega-3 fatty acid of its kind with clinical proof of its effectiveness in reducing errors by “50 percent or more” in an “episodic memory test.” Citing several “comprehensive, high-quality, clinical studies,” the lawsuit, however, says CVS’s memory supplement works no better than a common placebo. In fact, according to the case, the sole study on which CVS leans for its claims that Algal-900 DHA can strengthen memory is but a “limited, short-term study” done by in-house scientists at Martek Biosciences Corporation, a company that manufactures dietary supplements.
Even though this particular study has effectively been disregarded by at least one federal agency, the case says that hasn’t stopped CVS from relying on its claims.
“The Federal Trade Commission has concluded that this study does not support claims that DHA improves memory and has prohibited Martek from making memory claims based on this study,” the complaint states. “Still, CVS relies exclusively on this study for its claims that Algal-900 DHA improves memory.”
The lawsuit seeks to cover a proposed class of consumers in California who purchased CVS’s Algal-900 DHA any time since February 1, 2010.