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Walgreens to pay $6 million to settle FTC complaint

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Deerfield, Ill. The Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday that Walgreens will pay $6 million to settle allegations it deceptively marketed a line of its store-brand diet supplements, saying they could prevent colds, fight germs and boost the immune system.

At issue was Walgreen's marketing of Wal-Born supplements, the chain's version of Airborne products. The FTC resolved similar investigations into Airborne and chains CVS Caremark and Rite Aid in 2009.

The proposed settlement, which awaits court approval, includes a $1.2 million payment to Walgreen customers as part of a separate lawsuit. The $4.8 million balance will go to the FTC.

Walgreen will be barred under the settlement from saying Wal-Born products prevent or treat cold or flu symptoms or protect against cold or flu viruses, unless scientific evidence supports the claims.

The FTC said it plans to file the proposed settlement in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

In its settlement, CVS Caremark agreed to refund almost $2.8 million to shoppers who bought its AirShield supplements. Rite Aid refunded $500,000 to consumers who bought Germ Defense tablets, which are made by the same manufacturer, Improvita Health Products, as AirShield and Wal-Born.

The FTC also sued Improvita, and the company's two principal officers, Thomas Klamet and Daniel Kohler, agreed in January to pay $565,000 to settle the FTC's inquiry and stop misleading marketing of the products.

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