Refunds issued: Kids' vitamins aren't as healthy as advertised

Parents who purchased NBTY children's vitamins have until October 12 to file a claim.

Story highlights

  • NBTY said the Disney- and Marvel-themed vitamins held a full daily dose of DHA
  • The FTC says each tablet had only a tiny fraction of that amount of the omega-3 fatty acid
  • Parents have until October 12 to file a claim seeking refunds

The marketer of a popular children's vitamin is refunding nearly $2.1 million to customers after acknowledging its pills contained only a fraction of a nutritional substance the packaging claimed.

The vitamins' packaging featured Disney princesses, Winnie the Pooh, Nemo and Spider-Man. Manufacturer NBTY and two of its subsidiaries, Rexall Sundown and NatureSmart, claimed in product advertising and on packaging that the vitamins contained a dose of DHA that would satisfy 100% of a child's daily requirement.

But in some cases the vitamins contained only minuscule amounts of DHA, the Federal Trade Commission said.

Vitamin D in pregnancy may protect infants from virus

The amount of DHA -- an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish -- in Disney and Marvel Complete Tablets equaled only one-thousandth of what the marketers claimed per serving for children age 4 and older.

For smaller children, the discrepancy was even more significant. Only five-10-thousandths of what the company claimed the pills contained on the packaging was in a serving of Disney and Marvel Complete tablets for children ages 2 to 4, court documents filed by the FTC alleged.

Vitamin D plays a role in kid's illness
Vitamin D plays a role in kid's illness

    JUST WATCHED

    Vitamin D plays a role in kid's illness

MUST WATCH

Vitamin D plays a role in kid's illness 01:28

The packaging claimed the DHA the vitamins contained would help vision and brain development in children. The FTC said those claims were unsupported.

Sold at CVS Pharmacy, Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, Kroger, Kmart, Meijer and Rite Aid, as well as online, the boxes were priced at between $4 and $8 each.

The refunds announced Tuesday stem from a case originally filed in 2010 against NBTY for making false and deceptive advertising claims about their nutritional supplements.

Parents who believe they may have purchased the vitamins dating back to between May 1, 2008, and September 30, 2010, can file a claim through the FTC's website. In Tuesday's statement announcing the refunds, the FTC said customers have until October 12 to file a claim.

Hidden dangers in vitamins, supplements?

      CNN recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.