CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) – Matrixx Initiatives and Zicam failed to warn consumers that use of their nasal sprays and nasal swabs could lead to a loss of smell, a class action asserts in St. Louis County Circuit Court.
Lead plaintiff Gwendolyn West says Zicam’s Web site states that the only side effect from its nasal sprays and nasal swabs is a temporary discomfort, such as burning, stinging or increased nasal discharge.
But since Zicam’s introduction in 1999, the defendants have received numerous reports that the over-the-counter homeopathic affected users’ sense of smell and ability to detect flavor, the suit states.
West claims the defendants paid $12 million in 2006 to settle lawsuits filed by Zicam users who experienced a loss of smell. In May 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration discovered that the defendants had received more than 800 reports related to loss of smell from Zicam products, the suit states. On June 16, 2009, the FDA allegedly advised the public to stop taking Zicam products because of the association with potentially permanent olfactory damage.
The class consists of all St. Louis County residents who bought Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel, Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs and Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size in St. Louis County between July 1 and June 15.
The class seeks actual and punitive damages, and is represented by Kenneth Brennan of Collinsville, Ill.