Coppertone Agrees to Settlement for Misleading Advertising

A large Coppertone settlement has been reached after the popular sunscreen maker was accused of exaggerating the benefits and effectiveness of its products.

Merck and Co. inherited the Coppertone sunscreen company, as well as its 2003 lawsuit, when it purchased $41 billion rival company, Schering-Plough three years ago.  Coppertone was being sued after several people alleged that the company oversold claims for its sunscreen through advertising, marketing and labeling, as reported by Fox Business.

Merck agreed to pay between $3 million and $10 million to settle a class action lawsuit that was filed over allegations they falsely advertised the benefits of their sunscreen products to protect against ultraviolet rays.

The Coppertone settlement was filed last month in a New Jersey District Court specifying that Merck stop using the terms, “sunblock,” “waterproofing,” “sweat-proof,” “all-day,” or “all-day proof” in the labeling or advertising of Coppertone sunscreen products. The new stipulations will become effective for all Coppertone products manufactured on or after June 22, 2012 for sales in the U.S.

Merck did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the Coppertone settlement and denies that anyone was harmed by their conduct, but said it settled to avoid “the burden, expense, risk and uncertainty” of continuing the suit.

“We believe the company provides consumers with accurate information regarding its sun care products, and as it states in the settlement, this agreement is not any admission of wrongdoing, but the most appropriate way to put the matter behind us,” said Merck spokesman Ron Rogers, who noted that all Coppertone lotions and sprays are in compliance with the latest standards for broad-spectrum sun protection set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and added that they carry product information consistent with the FDA standards.

Once the Coppertone settlement is finalized, members of the class-action lawsuit will then be able to submit a claim for up to $1.50 for each eligible sunscreen product they purchased after July 31, 2006, Reuters reported.

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