Hand Sanitizer Class Actions Highlight Need For FDA Regulatory Update
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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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 class action complaint in California’s Southern District, challenging the hand sanitizer manufacturer’s 99.99% germ-kill claim, ignores the asterisk on products’ primary display panels that links to a disclosure on rear labels, “*Effective at eliminating 99.99% of many common harmful germs & bacteria," according to Vi-Jon's 27 August motion to dismiss.
Like other hand sanitizer manufacturers, WillSpeed Technology claims its GermBloc “kills 99.99% of germs.” Plaintiffs in a proposed class action filed in Massachusetts federal court allege the claim “grossly overstates” the product’s efficacy, deceiving consumers and endangering them with false confidence.