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State benefits from $3.3-million settlement with Bayer over prostate cancer claims

October 26, 2010 |  3:06 pm

California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown announced Tuesday a $3.3-million settlement with Bayer Healthcare after filing suit against the company for making unproven claims that their One-A-Day men’s vitamins reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

The multistate settlement will amount to more than $1 million for California’s consumer protection fund. The settlement is being split between Calinfornia, Illinois and Oregon because the states worked together in the investigation for the suit.

"By virtue of this settlement Bayer has stopped making totally unsubstantiated claims that its One-A-Day multivitamins can reduce men's risk of developing prostate cancer," Brown said in a statement.

The advertisements by Bayer questioned in the complaint claimed that emerging research indicated an ingredient in the multivitamins, mineral selenium, could reduce the risk of developing the disease.

The complaint alleged that Bayer either knew or should have known that selenium was widely considered in the scientific community to not help prevent the disease before proceeding with the advertisements. The complaint points to a 2008 clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health that confirms that belief.

Bayer continued with the advertisements, including a promotional relationship with Major League Baseball, until June 2009, and the claim remained on certain products until as late as May 2010, the statement said.

-- Stephen Ceasar