Dollar Tree and Amazon Are Selling "Deceptive" Supplements, New Lawsuits Claim
The two retailers have been hit with separate but similar class action lawsuits.
With high healthcare costs and mounting medication shortages, it can cost a lot of time and money to get your medical needs sorted these days. With that in mind, you may be tempted to seek out cheaper options from discount chains like Dollar Tree, or try Amazon for its speedy shipping times. Depending on what you're buying, however, you'll want to be aware of the claims being made in two new lawsuits. Read on to find out why Dollar Tree and Amazon are both being sued for selling allegedly "deceptive" supplements.
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Dollar Tree and Amazon have been hit with similar lawsuits.
Dollar Tree and Amazon are facing separate but similar class action lawsuits, Top Class Actions reported on June 5.
Both of the suits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, with plaintiff Robert Shields filing the class action against Dollar Tree, Inc. on May 19, and plaintiff Jonathan Perry filing the suit against Amazon.com, Inc. on May 23. In their respective cases, Shields and Perry are suing Dollar Tree and Amazon over the sale of glucosamine sulfate supplements.
Best Life reached out to both companies about these lawsuits, and we will update this story with their responses.
The shoppers claim both retailers are selling counterfeit glucosamine sulfate supplements.
Dollar Tree and Amazon are allegedly selling glucosamine sulfate supplements that don't actually contain any glucosamine sulfate, according to claims from both Shields' and Perry's lawsuits. Because the retailers' sell these products as glucosamine sulfate products, the supplements are "counterfeit," the plaintiffs claim.
As WebMD explains, glucosamine sulfate is a "natural sugar found in and around the fluid and tissues that cushion your joints," otherwise known as cartilage. Glucosamine sulfate supplements are widely used to help ease pain for people suffering from osteoarthritis—which is a condition that occurs when cartilage breaks down and often causes joint pain.
As the most common form of arthritis, it is estimated that over 32.5 million people in the U.S. have osteoarthritis, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Plaintiffs say the products contain less effective ingredients.
Instead of glucosamine sulfate, Perry and Shields claim that Dollar Tree and Amazon's supplements actually contain a combination of glucosamine hydrochloride and potassium sulfate—which is reportedly not as effective, according to the lawsuits' summary of information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
In their suits, the two plaintiffs state that NIH research shows the highest benefit for glucosamine supplements on joint pain is for products that specifically contain glucosamine sulfate.
"Products that contain glucosamine hydrochloride do not seem to work as well," the health agency states, per the suits. "Some researchers believe that glucosamine hydrochloride might not work as well as glucosamine sulfate. They think the 'sulfate' part of glucosamine sulfate is the important factor because sulfate is needed by the body to produce cartilage."
Both lawsuits claim that the marketing of these supplements is "deceptive."
Shields says he purchased a bottle of Nature's Measure branded Glucosamine Sulfate that Dollar Tree manufactures, markets, and sells, while Perry bought a bottle of Solimo branded Glucosamine Sulfate that Amazon manufactures, markets, and sells.
Both plaintiffs say that they retailers are "selling dietary supplements that are simply not what they claim to be," and violating federal and state law as a result.
"A reasonable consumer would believe, as plaintiffs did, that the label statements regarding the identity, quantity, and purity of the affected products would be truthful and not deceptive or misleading," the two class actions state. "They would not have purchased the affected products had they known that the affected products did not contain the ingredients as represented on the labels, and/or contained adulterants or undisclosed substances."