Product Liability

Consumers Seek Millions in Damages in Phenylephrine Class Action Lawsuit

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Consumers Seek Millions in Damages in Phenylephrine Class Action Lawsuit

In the Eastern District of California, a class action lawsuit has been filed against some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry, including Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.GlaxoSmithKline LLCReckitt Benckiser LLCBayer Healthcare LLCSanofi-Aventis U.S. LLCThe Procter & Gamble CompanyChurch & Dwight Co., Inc.Walmart Inc.Target CorporationCVS Pharmacy, Inc.Walgreen Co.Albertsons Companies Inc.Rite Aid CorporationAmazon.com, Inc., and 20 unnamed entities. The case was filed on September 12, 2023, by plaintiffs Kenneth Levi Pack and Min Ji Jung.

The lawsuit centers around a common ingredient found in decongestants - phenylephrine. According to the plaintiffs, the defendants have been marketing, distributing, and selling phenylephrine products despite being aware of its ineffectiveness in treating congestion and associated cold and flu symptoms. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants have engaged in deceptive, fraudulent, and unfair conduct by falsely advertising the effectiveness of phenylephrine and the products containing it.

The plaintiffs' journey to the courthouse began when they purchased these products, trusting the defendants' claims about their effectiveness. Like many others, they were seeking relief from the discomfort of congestion and cold symptoms. However, they allege that the products they bought did not deliver the promised relief, leading them to question the veracity of the defendants' claims.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants violated several laws. The first claim is fraudulent misrepresentation, where the defendants are accused of knowingly making false claims about the effectiveness of phenylephrine. The second claim is negligent misrepresentation, where the defendants are alleged to have carelessly made false claims about the product, causing harm to the plaintiffs.

The third claim is breach of express warranty. Here, the defendants are accused of failing to fulfill the promises or affirmations made about the effectiveness of the products. The fourth claim is strict liability for design and manufacturing defects. This claim contends that the defendants should be held responsible for the alleged ineffective products, irrespective of whether they were negligent.

The final claim is unfair business practices under California Business & Professions Code §§ 17200, et seq. This law prohibits businesses from engaging in unfair, deceptive, untrue, or misleading advertising. The plaintiffs allege that the defendants violated this law by falsely advertising the effectiveness of phenylephrine.

The plaintiffs seek compensation for financial harm, including the cost of purchasing the products. They are also seeking restitution and disgorgement of the defendants' revenues from selling these products. Furthermore, the plaintiffs are pursuing declaratory and injunctive relief, demanding a corrective advertising campaign and cessation of the alleged unlawful practices. The lawsuit also seeks punitive damages, which are awarded in cases of particularly egregious wrongdoing to punish the defendant and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.

The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a nationwide class defined as all persons within the United States who purchased phenylephrine products. Additionally, a California subclass has been defined as all persons who bought the products in California while residents of California.

The allegations in this lawsuit are troubling, especially considering the trust many consumers place in pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, and retailers to accurately describe their drugs' effects. It serves as a reminder for consumers to be vigilant and for companies to be truthful and transparent in their advertising.

Case Facts

  • Status:
    Lawsuit Filed
  • Case Number:
    2:23-at-00924
  • Filing Date:
    September 12, 2023
  • Jurisdiction:
    U.S. District Courts
  • State:
    California
  • Court:
    California Eastern District
  • Plaintiff:
    Kenneth Levi Pack; Min Ji Jung
  • Defendant:
    Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.; CVS Pharmacy, Inc.
  • Plaintiff Firm:
    Singleton & Schreiber, LLP
  • Defendant Firm:
  • Claims Administrator:
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Kevin Salzman, Esq.
Kevin Salzman, Esq.
Reporter and Licensed Attorney
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