* Cardiovascular health claims challenged
* Walgreen declines to comment
By Jonathan Stempel
March 11 Walgreen Co has been sued by a
California woman who accused the largest U.S. drugstore chain of
deceiving customers into believing its Vitamin E dietary
supplement contributes to cardiovascular health.
The complaint, filed on Friday in federal court in Chicago,
challenges a label on Walgreen's Vitamin E 400 IU Dietary
Supplement that says the product "naturally contributes to
cardiovascular health by helping to protect LDL cholesterol from
oxidation which may cause cellular damage."
Andrea Trujillo, the plaintiff, said the representation was
false and misleading because clinical studies show that Vitamin
E does not work as the retailer advertised.
Trujillo claimed to have paid $12 each for several bottles
of the supplement at a Walgreen's in her hometown of
"Plaintiff used the product as directed, and consistent with
the scientific evidence that the product is not effective, the
product did not work," the complaint said.
The statement in question has not been evaluated by the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration, according to the label, which was
reproduced in the complaint.
Walgreen spokesman Jim Graham declined to comment.
A lawyer for Trujillo did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.
According to the National Institutes of Health, Vitamin E
has an antioxidant function that protects cells from damage
caused by so-called free radicals, which can contribute to the
development of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The NIH said clinical trials have in general not shown that
routine use of vitamin E supplements prevents cardiovascular
disease. But it said participants in these studies have largely
been middle-aged or elderly people with heart disease or risk
factors for heart disease, and that more research is needed to
determine whether the supplements have any protective value for
younger people with no obvious risk of coronary heart disease.
Trujillo's lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of
consumers nationwide, or California consumers, who bought the
Vitamin E supplement, and alleges violations of Illinois and
California consumer fraud laws.
It seeks to force Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreen to pay
damages, halt the alleged improper sales, and mount a corrective
The case is Trujillo v. Walgreen Co, U.S. District Court,
Northern District of Illinois, No. 13-01852.