Perrigo settles latest of glucosamine class action suits

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Perrigo settles latest of glucosamine class action suits
A recent class action settlement will affect the way certain glucosamine supplements are marketed. The most recent settlement applies to the labeling of supplements sold by Walmart, Supervalu and Walgreens.

Objection brings about renegotiation

A federal judge in Connecticut gave final approval earlier this week to the settlement, which was renegotiated after objections by the watchdog group truthinadvertising.org.

The original settlement banned the labeling of the products, all of which are made by private label manufacturer Perrigo of South Carolina, from using six specific words on the labels for a period of two years. The revised settlement, according to the watchdog group,
“prohibits them from conveying the message that the supplements can repair, strengthen, or rebuild cartilage.”

Perrigo’s response is to stress that the settlement has been entered into solely for expediency’s sake.  On the site perrigoglucosaminesettlement.com​ the company states: “Defendants deny the allegations of unlawful conduct and further deny that any Class Member is entitled to any relief and, other than for settlement purposes, that this Action is appropriate for certification as a class action. No court or other entity has made any judgment or determination of liability. Nevertheless, the Parties have concluded that it is in their best interests to settle the Action to avoid the risk, expense and distraction of continued litigation.”

The company has agreed to set up a $2.8 million settlement fund to which consumers can apply for restitution.  The maximum payout per consumer is $96, or $12 a bottle for up to eight bottles.

TINA.org has also filed objections to settlements in other glucosamine suits. In February it filed an objection to a suit over the labeling of the  Wellesse Joint Movement brand and earlier this month it objected to a settlement in a case involving the brand Move Free Advanced.  

The settlement in the Perrigo case is similar to a class action brought against NBTY on its line of glucosamine supplements.  The company settled that claim in 2013​.

Way forward 

The recent spate of lawsuits over glucosamine stem from a meta-analysis published in 2010 in the British Medical Journal​.  The meta-analysis concluded that, “Compared with placebo, glucosamine, chondroitin, and their combination do not reduce joint pain or have an impact on narrowing of joint space. Health authorities and health insurers should not cover the costs of these preparations, and new prescriptions to patients who have not received treatment should be discouraged.”

Rather than focusing on the state of cartilage, joint spacing and so forth, marketers of the supplements might look toward more recent study data to back up claims. A recent randomized, placebo controlled trial using a chondroitin/glucosamine combination showed a 23% reduction in C-reactive protein (CRP) over placebo​.

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