Bayer not in contempt on Colon Health claims, federal judge rules

The Federal Trade Commission sued Bayer last year, alleging the company improperly claimed that the company's Colon Health helps lessen occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating. But U.S. District Judge Jose Linares disagreed.

Bayer AG did not violate a 2007 court order when it claimed the company's Colon Health helps lessen occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating, U.S. District Judge Jose Linares ruled last week. Reuters reported the decision on Monday.

The 2007 court order came from the Federal Trade Commission's complaint that Bayer incorrectly claimed that its WeightSmart line of One-A-Day vitamins could help consumers control their weight, according to the complaint filed in September 2014. Because of that order, Bayer must have "competent and reliable scientific evidence" of benefits or efficacy of its dietary supplements.

In the most recent complaint, the FTC said Bayer's claims were made in print and broadcast advertisements, as well as on the products' packaging. Consumers paid hundreds of millions of dollars for the products although Bayer could not support the claims with scientific evidence, the agency claimed.

Linares ruled after a bench trial, meaning the judge, not a jury, heard the evidence. The decision has been released to the parties involved but not yet been made public.

In response to the decision, Bayer said in a statement that its claims are substantiated by several clinical, animal and genetic studies, Reuters reported.

"The government had been seeking to subject dietary supplements to the same gold standard for testing as prescription drugs," Jonathan Cohn, a partner at the law firm Sidley Austin representing Bayer, told Reuters. "Bayer has faithfully followed the law, including the FTC's previous guidance."

The complaint filed in 2014 can be found here.

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