Most of us are used to product substitutions. Many shirts are made of polyester instead of cotton. Or, the ring on your finger may feature a manufactured diamond as opposed to a natural diamond. In many cases, the substituted product is just as good. Polyester looks as good as cotton, and manufactured diamonds are practically indistinguishable from natural ones. Plus, the product label clearly states the product’s contents.
But neither of these things are the case with glucosamine sulfate substitutes. Many product manufacturers replace glucosamine sulfate with glucosamine hydrochloride, a cheap substitute that has a completely different molecular structure. So, the product does not have the promised benefits. Even worse, the label often states that the product contains glucosamine sulfate. Therefore, consumers pay for something they do not receive.
For the most part, companies will always take such shortcuts if they can increase their profits. If consumers get hurt, they frankly do not care. That’s where the aggressive attorneys at Napoli Law step in. Big companies do not intimidate your legal team. We counter their threats with hard work and passion. We believe that slow and steady wins the race, so we build your case one piece of evidence at a time. At the same time, our passion for consumer rights fuels this hard work. So, we persevere to the end.
What is Glucosamine Sulfate?
In most cases, people have large amounts of this natural chemical around their joints. However, glucosamine sulfate is much more than just a lubricant. This substance triggers chemical reactions which build ligaments and tendons. Perhaps most significantly, the “sulfate” part of the compound helps build cartilage, according to many researchers.
Some people have stiff joints. The effect can be anywhere from mildly annoying to absolutely debilitating. So, many of these individuals turn to glucosamine sulfate supplements. They depend on these products to get them through each day. Typically, the glucosamine sulfate in these supplements comes from shellfish, so the body can quickly absorb it.
Glucosamine sulfate comes in different forms. Some alternatives include N-acetyl-glucosamine and, more importantly for our purposes, glucosamine hydrochloride. Much like manufactured diamonds and natural diamonds, these different glucosamine forms are not exactly the same. These differences are especially apparent in chemical supplements. Most of the research about glucosamine’s benefits concerns glucosamine sulfate. The effects of the cheap substitutes are largely unknown. Moreover, as mentioned, the sulfate component has many benefits that the others do not offer.
Nevertheless, mislabeling is a serious concern. Many companies probably think they can get away with it, because the glucosamine forms are so similar. As the market for these supplements expand, a number of companies have been accused of taking shortcuts. Some brand names under scrutiny include:
- Walmart’s Spring Valley
- CVS Health
- Dollar Tree’s Nature’s Measure
- Walgreens’ Finest Nutrition
- Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value
- Healthy Sense
- Nature’s Bounty
- Natural Factors
- Fresh Thyme Farmers Market
- Country Life
- Signature Care
- Jarrow Formulas
- Vitamin Shoppe
- Food Science Corporation’s DaVinci Laboratory
- Doctor’s Best
- Nature’s Way, and
The glucosamine supplement variance may be up to 100 percent. In other words, despite what the labels claim, some of these products have none of what consumers want. They only contain cheap, unproven, and ineffective substitutes that resemble glucosamine sulfate. That’s not good enough for you, and it’s not good enough for us.
Legal Implications of Unadvertised Substitutions
There is an old saying that for every wrong, there is a legal remedy. That’s not always true, but it is certainly true in this case. Defective product claims often involve a dangerous design, such as the defective Takata airbags. Many of these claims also involve misleading labels, such as the unannounced glucosamine hydrochloride/glucosamine sulfate substitution. Some other scenarios include:
- Failure to thoroughly review labels,
- Errant label application,
- Nutrition listing errors, and
- Ingredients errors.
Damages in mislabeling cases usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as emotional distress. In product defect cases, many jurors award additional punitive damages. Quite often, the punitive damages award eclipses the compensatory damages.
Your Legal Claim
Some people have severe allergic reactions to certain chemicals. If a supplement contains unlabeled ingredients, these reactions could be life-threatening. But in many cases, individual losses are negligible. As a result, many people may not consider a legal claim. They think it’s simply not worth the effort.
But there is power in numbers. When aggrieved consumers group together, the ultimate damage award can be almost eye-poppingly high. These numbers get the attention of product manufacturers. They get the message that unannounced substitutions and other such practices are simply not acceptable. So, victims obtain both compensation and justice. They also get the satisfaction of knowing that their action helps prevent future incidents.
Lawyers call these claims class action lawsuits. The procedure is almost exactly the same as an individual action. The major exception is that the judge must certify the class action. Every claimant must have had roughly the same experience and suffered roughly the same harm. Also, because of the vast amount of money involved, many companies fight class action claims tooth and nail. Without an experienced and aggressive attorney, these claims have little chance of success. WIth such help, the likelihood is much, much higher.
It’s illegal and immoral for companies to sell one thing and claim that it’s something better. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. We handle class action lawsuits on a nationwide basis.