Ads for Schering-Plough’s anti-allergy drug Claritin are the subject of a lawsuit filed yesterday in New Jersey by a consumer group.

The Prescription Access Litigation Project claims the pharmaceutical giant and Quantum Group, part of WPP’s CommonHealth, broke the state’s consumer protection laws.

The lawsuit asserts that the ads “falsely promise [Claritin buyers] complete relief” (even though half of users do not experience total allergy alleviation), and unlawfully raise demand for the product, allowing Schering to keep prices high.

“The manufacturer and advertisers of Claritin products employ unconscionable commercial practices, deception and knowing concealment,” continues the suit, adding that the scale of the “false and misleading [advertising] exceeds everything in American prescription drug history.” It demands refunds to customers and “injunctive relief”.

The drug manufacturer said it had not had chance to see the suit, but insisted its ads fell within Food and Drug Administration rules, adding that Claritin would not sell so well if it did not work.

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline