FTC fines NBTY regarding children’s vitamins claims

WASHINGTON — As part of its ongoing efforts to stop “bogus” health claims, the Federal Trade Commission on Monday reached a settlement requiring NBTY to stop making false and unproven claims that their supplements promote healthy brain and eye development in children, the agency announced.

NBTY has agreed to pay $2.1 million to provide refunds to consumers who purchased certain multivitamins in its Disney and Marvel Heroes line.

The FTC charged NBTY with making deceptive claims about the amount of DHA — an omega-3 fatty acid — used in its line of Disney- and Marvel Heroes-licensed children's multivitamin gummies and tablets. NBTY also made unsupported claims that a daily serving of the products promotes healthy brain and eye development in children, according to the FTC administrative complaint.

Product packaging and print ads promoting the vitamins had bold graphics highlighting that the products contained DHA, but in reality, the products allegedly had only a trace amount of DHA. While the vitamins' packaging touted the purported health benefits of 100 mg of DHA, a daily serving of the Disney and Marvel multivitamins for children ages 4 years and older contained only one thousandth of that amount (0.1 mg or 100 mcg), according to the FTC's complaint.

The FTC alleged that the packaging and ads for the Disney and Marvel multivitamins misrepresented that they contained a significant amount of DHA, and that NBTY and its subsidiaries, NatureSmart and Rexall Sundown, made unsubstantiated claims that the amount of DHA provided by the multivitamins promotes healthy brain and eye development in children.

The settlement bars NBTY from misrepresenting the amount of any ingredient contained in any product. NBTY also must be able to quantify claims that any ingredient, including DHA, promotes brain or eye health or provides any other health benefit, by “competent and reliable scientific evidence,” the FTC added.