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FTC offers refund for purchase of some children’s vitamins

Parents who have previously purchased Disney- or Marvel Hero-themed vitamins for their kids may be eligible for a refund, the Federal Trade Commission announced on Tuesday. The government agency settled with manufacturers of the vitamins -- featuring Disney Princesses, Winnie the Pooh, Finding Nemo, and Spider-Man -- for $2.1 million last year for making false advertising claims on their products, which contained trace amounts of the fatty acid DHA.

That settlement will be used to pay out refunds to those who purchased the products. The amount of the refund will depend on the total amount of vitamins purchased and how many people file claims. “We want to make sure everyone gets some form of redress,” Devin Domond, a staff attorney at the FTC, said in an interview. There is no proof of purchase necessary to file a claim, she added, but consumers will be relied upon to make an honest assessment of their purchases.

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The vitamins called “Gummies” were sold by major retailers -- such as CVS Pharmacy, Wal-Mart, and Target -- as well as online. Anyone, who purchased the vitamins between May 1, 2008 and September 30, 2010, can file a refund claim with the FTC either online or by calling 866-224-4336 to request a form by mail.

Consumers have until October 12, 2012 to file their claims.

“The FTC charged NBTY, Inc., NatureSmart LLC, and Rexall Sundown, Inc., with making deceptive claims about the amount of DHA in their children’s vitamin gummies and tablets, and the effect of that amount on eye and brain development in children,” the agency said in a statement.

Product labels stated that the vitamins contained DHA and the a 100 milligram dose “promotes healthy brain and eye development.” Each vitamin pill, however, contained only one-tenth of a single milligram of DHA, hardly enough to provide any health benefits.

Deborah Kotz can be reached at dkotz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.
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