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CVS Flu Relief Accused of Fraudulent Remedy Claims

Mar 4, 2016

According to a complaint filed recently in a California federal court, a proposed consumer class says that a homeopathic flu remedy was falsely represented and was, through its manufacturing process, nothing more than a sugar pill with no actual healing effect at all, reports Law360.

The plaintiff filed a complaint stating that the label on the box of CVS Flu Relief promised to temporarily relieve flu-like symptoms, including fever, aches, pains and chills. She discovered that the active ingredient, a combination of duck hearts and livers known as Anas Barbariae was so severely diluted, the result of the process was essentially a sugar pill.

The diluting process involved taking one percent of the Anas Barbariae, mixing it with 99 percent distilled water, then one percent of that mixture being combined with 99 percent distilled water, repeating that process 200 times. That mixture is then placed on what is basically, a sugar pellet, according to the complaint, Law360 reports.

"Based upon basic principles of chemistry, the possibility of there being even one molecule of the original Anas Barbariae in one of the Defendant's product, let alone all of the doses it has sold and will sell during the class period, is a number beyond the known physical realm," the complaint alleged. According to Law360, the product, purchased by the plaintiff's at a local California CVS store, cost $16.79. The complaint alleges that had plaintiff been aware that she was basically purchasing sugar and water, she would never have made that purchase.

The name brand Oscillococcinum, made by Boiron Inc, of which the CVS-brand Flu Relief is the generic version, had been involved in a proposed class action in California that claimed the company had committed fraud, for essentially identical dilution allegations, rendering the 'remedy' useless. In 2012, Boiron settled a similar lawsuit for $12 million, with the agreement Boiron would insert a disclaimer informing consumers that Oscillococcinum was not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A subsequent lawsuit in 2013 maintains the company continued to mislead customers, court records revealed.

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