A Maryland federal court overseeing multidistrict litigation (MDL) against GNC Holdings Inc. and Rite Aid Corp. has denied a motion to reconsider its dismissal of a case claiming that GNC deceptively advertises TriFlex and other glucosamine-based supplements as improving joint health without sufficient scientific evidence. In re GNC Corp., Triflex Mktg. & Sales Practices Litig., MDL No. 14-2491 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D. Md., order entered September 9, 2014). The plaintiffs had alleged breach of express warranty, and violations of consumerprotection and deceptive-practices statutes because, they argued, studies had shown that glucosamine supplements did not improve joint discomfort or health in non-arthritic consumers any more reliably than placebos did. In its prior dismissal, the court found that the plaintiffs had failed to show that they relied on the allegedly deceptive advertising to make their glucosaminebased supplement purchases, and, in denying the motion to reconsider, confirmed that holding.
In a lawsuit with similar claims, Botanical Laboratories Inc. and Schwabe North America Inc. have agreed to pay $3.1 million to settle a putative class action filed in a California federal court. Hazlin v. Botanical Labs. LLC, No. 13-618 (U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D. Cal., motion for settlement approval filed September 15, 2014). The companies manufacture, distribute and advertise Wellesse Joint Movement Glucosamine Products, which they claimed could “protect and rebuild cartilage” and improve joint health despite, plaintiffs argued, scientific evidence that disputed such claims about glucosamine. The parties have asked the court to certify a nationwide class for the purpose of settlement distribution; consumers would be able to obtain up to $18 per bottle depending on the size they purchased, up to $100. In addition, $930,000 would be deducted from the settlement fund to pay attorney’s fees, if the settlement is approved.