J&J unit, P&G, Walgreens misled consumers about decongestants, lawsuits say
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Reuters
Posted: October 16th, 2023
Procter & Gamble (PG.N), Walgreens (WBA.O) and Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ.N) former consumer business are among several companies accused in lawsuits of deceiving consumers about cold medicines containing an ingredient that a unanimous U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel declared ineffective. Proposed class actions were filed on Wednesday and Thursday, after the panel reviewed several studies and concluded this week that the ingredient phenylephrine marketed as a decongestant was essentially no better than a placebo. According to an agency presentation, about 242 million products with phenylephrine were sold in the United States last year, generating $1.76 billion of sales and accounting for about four-fifths of the market for oral decongestants. The first lawsuit appeared to have been filed in Pensacola, Florida, federal court. It said Johnson & Johnson Consumer and Procter & Gamble should have known by 2018 that their marketing claims about products with phenylephrine were "false and deceptive." That year was when new FDA guidance for evaluating symptoms related to nasal congestion demonstrated that earlier data about phenylephrine's effectiveness could no longer be relied upon, the complaint said. The plaintiff Steve Audelo, a Florida resident, said he bought Johnson & Johnson's Sudafed PE and Benadryl Allergy Plus, and Procter & Gamble's Vicks NyQuil, based on the companies' claims that the products worked.