Walgreens Busted for Deceptive Ads


Walgreens must have a pretty big headache right now, but they better not try to dull the pain with their own products.

Walgreens has agreed to pay nearly $6 million to settle charges that it used deceptive advertising, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The product in question is a cold remedy Walgreens sold called Wal-Born, a cold medicine modeled after Airborne, that became subject to the same fate.

Airborne was forced to pay millions in 2008 to the FTC after the government argued that the so-called cold cure did not “reduce the severity or duration of colds.” This time around, the FTC accused Walgreens of marketing its Wal-Born product much in the same way that Airborne did, “using the same baseless claims that the supplements could prevent colds, fight germs and boost the immune system.”

Walgreens has agreed to stop claiming that Wal-Born can “prevent or treat cold or flu symptoms” and to pony up $5.97 million in total, $1.2 million of which will actually go to consumers. That will probably make people feel a lot better than Wal-Born ever did.

Walgreens isn’t the first pharmacy chain to be busted on these charges. Both CVS and Rite Aid settled with the FTC last year for marketing similar cold cures using the same false claims.

Check out MainStreet’s coverage of the Biggest Liars in Business. You’ll definitely recognize some names on the list.

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