Walgreens pays almost $6M in deceptive advertising settlement


When a nationally branded product is nailed for deceptive advertising, what happens when similar products marketed as store brands are also subject to similar advertising? Walgreens just found out, at the cost of $5.97M.

The branded product was Airborne, which was claimed to be able to “prevent colds, fight germs, and boost the immune system.” The claims were not backed up with any scientific research or other evidence, were declared baseless by the FTC, and the matter was settled back in 2008.

Walgreens had its own in-store version called Wal-borne, and used the same kinds of claims in its marketing of the product. It settled with a federal court over the matter. $1.2M of that is earmarked for consumers under a class action lawsuit.

FTC is also suing principals of Improvita Health Products Inc., manufacturers of Wal-borne and other supplements.

The advertising in this case did not involve broadcasters. It did involve newspaper circulars, online venues and the product packaging.