This is a class action on behalf of residents of California against Defendants for misleading consumers through the labeling, marketing, and advertising of Lancôme cosmetic products, including its Génifique, Renergie Lift Volumetry, Absolue Precious Cells, Visionnaire, and High Resolution line of products (collectively, “anti-aging cosmetic products.
The class consists of those California residents who purchased the above named Lancôme cosmetic products from November 5, 2008 to the present (the “Class Period”).
As alleged in the complaint, Lancôme engaged in deceptive acts and misrepresentations concerning the Company’s anti-aging cosmetic products which have injured Plaintiffs and the Class.
During the Class Period, Lancôme labeled, advertised, marketed, and sold its anti-aging cosmetic products using language that led reasonable consumers to believe the products could prevent, reduce, or reverse the signs of aging, including by manipulating biological structures. As detailed more fully herein, Lancôme claimed its products would affect the structure of the human body in several ways, including boosting the activity of genes, stimulating production of youth proteins, improving the condition around stem cells, and stimulating cell regeneration in order to retard or reverse the signs of aging.
On September 7, 2012, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued a Warning Letter to Lancôme.1 In the Warning Letter, the FDA alleged that Lancôme was marketing the anti-aging cosmetic products complained of herein as new drugs, in violation of FDA regulations.
In sum, the Warning Letter stated that if Lancôme’s anti-aging cosmetic products do what Lancôme claimed, the products “affect the structure” of the human body. According to the FDA, this property would render the products drugs. However, Lancôme does not have approval to market any of its products as drugs. Lacking such approval, the FDA classified Defendants’ products as unapproved new drugs. Marketing new drugs without FDA approval is illegal under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”).
As alleged, Lancôme engaged in pervasive deceptive labeling and advertising of its anti-aging cosmetic products. Lancôme intended to and did induce Plaintiffs and the Class collectively to spend millions of dollars on the Company’s anti-aging cosmetic products based on the belief that the products would perform as represented by Lancôme.
Lancôme developed its advertising scheme to grow the Company’s sales of its anti-aging cosmetic products based on deliberate misrepresentations of the products’ actual properties. Lancôme knew that consumers concerned about signs of aging would pay a considerable markup for products that claimed to slow or reverse those signs rather than simply mask them. Accordingly, Lancôme charged distributors a sizeable premium for these products.
If Plaintiffs and the Class had been aware of the truth, they would not have purchased the Lancôme anti-aging cosmetic products and/or would not have paid a premium price.
Plaintiffs seek an order compelling Lancôme to: (1) restore to Plaintiffs and the Class the amounts by which they were injured, (2) destroy all misleading and deceptive materials and products, or re-label them with language to correct the confusion complained of herein, and (3) conduct a corrective advertising campaign informing consumers that the products were formerly advertised to have properties that they do not have, specifically identifying each such property.