Walmart Class Action Challenges Glucosamine Supplements Labeling

If you are taking Walmart’s glucosamine supplements, check your labels! You may not be getting what you are paying for, according to a recently filed nationwide consumer class action lawsuit challenging Walmart’s labeling of its store-brand Spring Valley glucosamine tablets.

Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is produced naturally in humans. It is not approved by the FDA for medical use in humans and is classified as a dietary supplement. People take glucosamine to treat symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, glaucoma, joint pain, back pain, and more.

Plaintiffs Cynthia Parker, Reba Garth, Margaret Herrin, and Shirley Reinhard filed the Walmart class action last week in Missouri federal court, alleging the retail giant breaks promises and repeatedly violates federal and state laws by deceptively selling its Spring Valley glucosamine supplements with mislabeled ingredients. Specifically, the lawsuit says that while Walmart labels the supplements as containing glucosamine sulfate, they actually are made up of glucosamine hydrochloride and potassium sulfate – less expensive ingredients with reportedly no proven health benefits.

“While it is possible to chemically convert glucosamine hydrochloride to glucosamine sulfate, this was not done in the creation of [Walmart]’s supplements. Labelling this supplement as glucosamine sulfate is chemically inaccurate and misleading,” the Walmart class action states.

In fact, there is conflicting evidence that glucosamine hydrochloride is effective in treating osteoarthritis, while glucosamine sulfate has been shown to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis, in knees in particular. Still, according to the 35-page complaint, Walmart sells its glucosamine tablets with this allegedly false labeling in order to dupe consumers into thinking they are purchasing a health supplement that is in reality questionable as to its true benefits.

On top of that, Walmart is purportedly lining its wallets by charging a premium for their allegedly mislabeled Spring Valley glucosamine supplements: $8.88 for bottles of 120 tablets or $11.48 for bottles of 200 tablets. Each of the named plaintiffs contend that had they known the Walmart glucosamine supplement did not contain Glucosamine Sulfate as labeled, they never would have paid those amounts.

Parker, Garth, Herrin, and Reinhard are seeking to represent a nationwide class of consumers who purchased a dietary supplement labeled Glucosamine Sulfate but instead contained Glucosamine Hydrochloride from Walmart, as well as four separate state-based subclasses: Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Among monetary relief, the Walmart class action lawsuit is asking the court to issue an order requiring the retailer to recall dietary supplements containing Glucosamine Hydrochloride.

The plaintiffs are represented by Eric S. Johnson, Paul J. Hanly, Jr. and Mitchell M. Breit of Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC; and Gregory F. Coleman, Mark E. Silvey, Adam A. Edwards and Lisa A. White of Greg Coleman Law PC.

The Walmart Mislabeled Glucosamine Tablets Class Action Lawsuits is Cynthia Parker, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Case No. 4:18-cv-00465, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

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