Procter & Gamble faces a class action that alleges its sale of DayQuil “Severe Cold & Flu” and the SuperC vitamin C supplement in a “convenience pack” is misleading given that consumers falsely believe that vitamin C helps relieve cold and flu symptoms.
Procter & Gamble faces a proposed class action that alleges its sale of DayQuil “Severe Cold & Flu” and the SuperC vitamin C supplement together in a “convenience pack” is misleading given that consumers falsely believe that vitamin C helps relieve cold and flu symptoms.
The 12-page case contends that because Procter & Gamble has co-packaged the products, consumers assume that SuperC, which contains “1,000 mg Vitamin C,” should be taken alongside DayQuil to alleviate cold and flu symptoms.
Although the DayQuil product contains three over-the-counter ingredients designed for cold and flu treatment, and despite the fact that many consumers believe vitamin C is beneficial in treating cold and flu symptoms, there is no evidence that vitamin C reduces in severity or duration any symptoms associated with these viral infections, the suit argues.
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According to the complaint, the three active ingredients in the cold-and-flu DayQuil, acetaminophen, dextromethorphan HBr and doxylamine succinate, have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the symptoms listed on the product’s front label, which include “[h]eadache, fever, sore throat, minor aches & pains,” “[c]hest congestion. . .,” “[n]asal congestion, sinus pressure” and “[c]ough.” The front label of SuperC says that the product “helps replenish essential vitamins + provides a healthy energy boost,*” but fine print on the side of the package clarifies that the item “is not intended to treat colds or flu,” the lawsuit explains.
Per the suit, Procter & Gamble’s deceptive marketing strategy aims to mislead the majority of consumers, who falsely believe that vitamin C is effective in treating cold and flu symptoms. In fact, the FDA has warned Procter & Gamble that it is prohibited from adding vitamin C to its Vicks cold formulas since no studies have demonstrated that the ingredient effectively prevents or treats cold symptoms.
“Though some studies have shown that regularly taking vitamin C supplements may decrease the duration of cold and flu symptoms, consuming this after symptoms appear – for which consumers would seek the Product – has no effect,” the case reads.
Moreover, the filing elaborates that the FDA has considered allowing companies to sell two or more shrink-wrapped cartons together—but “only when it was clear to consumers that the two components were not intended to be used together for a common purpose, such as treating the symptoms of colds and flu.”
According to the case, Proctor & Gamble’s misrepresentations have allowed it to sell the daytime cold-and-flu convenience pack at a premium price, or approximately $13.49 for 12 DayQuil capsules and 14 SuperC capsules. If consumers had been aware that taking vitamin C along with DayQuil does not provide any additional cold and flu symptom relief, they would not have bought the products, or would have paid substantially less for them, the complaint asserts.
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone in Illinois, Utah, South Dakota, Kansas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alaska or North Carolina who purchased the Vicks DayQuil & Super C Convenience Pack during the applicable statute of limitations period.
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