(Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement from ChapStick's manufacturer, Pfizer.)
A class action lawsuit against Pfizer alleges its ChapStick lip balm lines are not all natural.
Lead plaintiff, Louise Noelke, filed suit against Pfizer in St. Clair County Circuit Court over claims made about various lines of its ChapStick brand that are advertised as "100% natural lip butter," including Pink Grapefruit, Green Tea, Mint, and Sweet Papaya.
The suit, which the plaintiff seeks to certify as a class action, alleges the products are not all natural and contain synthetics. The suit states that the ChapStick lines contain a total of six different processed compounds, which "by definition are not natural."
Noelke claims Pfizer "deceptively, falsely, and unfairly represented that the products are '100% natural', which deceives consumers into believing the products do not contain synthetic ingredients."
Noelke alleges she bought the products on numerous occasions, including within the last six months. She is seeking to recover damages on behalf of herself and members of the class under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act (ICFA).
"If plaintiff had known the product in fact had contained synthetic ingredients she would not have purchased it or would have paid less for it," the complaint states.
The complaint further accuses the company of playing on the fact that "consumers are increasingly interested in purchasing healthy, natural products that do not contain harmful synthetic chemicals and ingredients."
Noelke alleges Pfizer engaged in unjust enrichment because its "acceptance and retention" of profits from the sale of the products is "inequitable and unjust."
In response to the filing of the lawsuit, Pfizer provided the following statement:
“Pfizer provides consumers with truthful information, and the packaging and advertising for ChapStick® products are accurate and scientifically sound. We deny the plaintiffs’ allegations and believe this lawsuit has no merit.”
Plaintiff attorney David Nelson of Nelson and Nelson in Belleville did not respond to a request for comment from the Record.