Watchdog group files suit over Bayer's claims about vitamins' ability to improve health
Bayer markets its One A Day vitamins with a variety of health claims including that the vitamins support heart health, immunity, and energy levels. The company markets a variety of the vitamins to different ages, gender and consumers with specific health concerns. But do the One A Day vitamins really help in the ways the pharmaceutical giant claims?
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says no. The vitamins will not prevent consumers from getting sick, make them feel more energetic, or prevent heart disease, CSPI contends.
The non-profit watchdog group filed a federal class-action lawsuit Oct.15 taking aim at the packaging and marketing of a wide variety of Bayer’s One a Day vitamins. The suit, filed in federal court in California, alleges that Bayer deceived consumers by bombarding them with messages of purported health benefits and using scare tactics to convince them that they needed these vitamins, the suit alleges. CSPI is seeking an injunction against the false claims as well as refunds for consumers who purchased the vitamins expecting the benefits.
Specifically, regarding its heart health vitamins, Bayer claims that the products, which contain vitamin B6, B12, C, E and folic acid, can prevent cardiovascular disease. But the suit notes that studies have shown supplements with these vitamins do not prevent heart disease and that the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association also confirm that these vitamins don’t help reduce the risk or severity of heart disease.
“None of Bayer’s multivitamins can unclog arteries, prevent heart attacks, or otherwise ameliorate heart disease. And to the extent these claims prompt people to take vitamin pills instead of doctor-prescribed heart medicines, Bayer may be harming people’s health as well as their wallets,” said CSPI litigation director Steve Gardner.
As for all the One A Day varieties that make other health claims, the suit alleges, “Bayer’s marketing and labeling also draws consumers attention away from the fact that very little difference exists between varieties of Bayer One a Day multivitamins.”
TINA.org reached out to Bayer for comment but hasn’t received a response. Bayer may be busy trying to tamp down other negative press it received recently when the Department of Justice announced it was seeking civil contempt charges against the company for allegedly violating a previous consent order by making unproven health claims to promote its Phillips’ Colon Health. In that earlier consent order, Bayer agreed to pay out $3.2 million to settle charges that it falsely marketed its One A Day WeightSmart vitamins as a weight-loss remedy.
More of TINA.org’s coverage of vitamins can be found here.
For nearly four decades, Mesco has worked to improve the quality of life of the financially weak through meaningful education
Modern Education Social & Cultural Organization (Mesco) was established in September 1968 with the vision of its founders, Dr AA Quereshi, SA Vohra and Dr MA Khatkhatay (currently its general secretary). It started as a small and humble effort—funds were raised by collecting old newspapers from donor families. The money generated was used to distribute textbooks and notebooks to needy students.
There has been no looking back for Mesco since those early days. Its annual budget has grown from just Rs3,000 to Rs8.5 crore and it reaches out to 80,000 poor families per year. The areas of operation are education, medical intervention and poverty alleviation. Mesco is accredited by Credibility Alliance and is empanelled with Tata Institute of Social Sciences. It is listed on the website of GiveIndia for donors to contribute.
According to Dr MA Khatkhatay, “Inability to meet school expenses for uniforms, books, shoes, etc, deprives the student from acquiring better education. These circumstances lead to school drop-outs.” School drop-outs are a problem all over India, especially girls. Mesco has intervened in Mumbai and its suburbs to make sure that there is continuity in education of the girl child in every family that it is involved with.
Mesco’s schemes under education include: educational aid, educational scholarships and enrolment in RC Mahim Municipal Urdu School which has about 2,000 students. Mesco has adopted the School since the last 18 years. Over the decades, this effort has gradually evolved into a programme that helps more than a thousand students every year for their educational needs by providing one-time aid to meet school expenses in the beginning of the academic year.
Educational adoption of students is done at Class VIII level and is based on the student’s performance in the previous three years. Full support is provided to the student until completion of his/her college education.
Scholarship is a ‘loan scholarship’ under which Rs50,000 to Rs70,000 per year is provided to students selected for professional courses. Repayment of the loan by the student commences after the student has completed his/ her studies and stabilised in employment.
Under its medical help programmes, Mesco runs three mobile clinics and two dispensaries in Mumbai. It also provides sustained dialysis support and medical aid, including that required for costly treatment or chronic medical issues. The sustained dialysis support scheme, started in 2012-13, provides lifetime support to those who need this critical help. In 2013-14 it helped 26 patients with this support at a total cost of Rs35 lakh. For some of its medical intervention programmes, Mesco has collaborated with AmeriCares India Foundation and Wockhardt Foundation which provide free medicines for distribution to needy patients.
Under its poverty relief programmes, Mesco provides sewing machines to needy women. Hoorbanu, a widow with two school-going children, is able to earn between Rs8,000 to Rs10,000 a month due to Mesco’s support. Mesco’s website says, “During 2013-14, we have assisted 3,626 school and college students, provided medical services to 391 patients under various schemes and to over 80,000 patients through our three mobile clinics and two fixed dispensaries; and provided poverty relief to 378 beneficiaries.”
Readers who wish to contribute to Mesco’s efforts with donation may contact Mesco at the address given alongside. Donors are eligible for income-tax exemption under Section 80 G of the Income Tax Act.
Modern Educational Social & Cultural Organization (Mesco)
110, Natalwala Building, VS Road, Mahim (W), Mumbai 400 016, Maharashtra
Phones: (+9122) 24441442 / (+9122) 24448637, Fax: (+9122) 24448637,
After weeks of speculation, Arvind Subramanian, who has previously worked closely with Raghuram Rajan, is appointed as the new Chief Economic Advisor
The Indian government on Thursday appointed Arvind Subramanian as the country's next Chief Economic Advisor. Subramanian's name had been in the list of nominees sent by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). However, after weeks of speculation, his name was officially confirmed today.
Arvind Subramanian has been a celebrated economist and academic. Arvind Subramanian is an alumnus of the St. Stephens College in Delhi, IIM Ahmedabad and the University of Oxford, where he got his M Phil and D Phil. He spoke to the media after the appointment and said that, "It was an honour and privilege to serve in the Government that has a mandate for reform and change." On the challenges ahead, he said that, "Macro economic growth and creating opportunities for growth and development are the two important things for any country."
However, in an Op-ed written for the Business Standard in January 2013, he had questioned the Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi's so-called Gujarat Model. "in the tax collection data, why can one see a Raman Singh effect, a Nitish Kumar effect, a Naveen Patnaik effect, but not a Narendra Modi effect?" he had written.
In the same article Subramanian had also spoken of the merits of a reasonable tax regime, "A corollary is that reasonable (but not onerous) taxation ensures that good governance will be durable, outlasting individual leaders," he wrote.
Writing about the lacklustre performance on tax collection by the Modi administration in Gujarat, he had said "On this important measure of governance, Mr Modi stands indicted as a mediocre performer and one whose performance has not improved over time."
This appointment takes on an interesting dimension in view of Arvind Subramanian's earlier views on Modi's performance in Gujarat.