Purell Battling Class Actions Over Disease Claims While World Scrambles To Increase Hand Sanitizer Supplies
Leading chemical firms, beauty and consumer health companies, even distilleries and medical marijuana cultivators are adapting operations to meet global demand for hand sanitizers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, plaintiff’s attorneys are busy with multiple class actions against Purell manufacturer GOJO Industries for alleged false advertising following a January warning letter to the firm from the US FDA.
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The US FDA has primary jurisdiction over labeling claims on OTC consumer antiseptic rubs, and state false advertising claims lodged by the plaintiff are preempted by federal law, Edgewell Personal Care argues in its motion to dismiss a proposed class action in California federal court regarding Wet Ones germ-killing claims.
A growing number of class action complainants allege that 99.99% germ-killing claims on hand sanitizers are false and misleading. The suits cite potentially dangerous microorganisms that, according to plaintiffs, are impervious to active ingredients used in the category, and argue that bacteria reductions do not necessarily translate to illness or infection prevention.
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