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3 big-name companies face class action lawsuit in Colorado over marketing and sale of decongestant

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Posted at 11:03 AM, Dec 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-27 13:06:31-05

DENVER — Johnson & Johnson, Proctor and Gamble, and Walmart face a lawsuit in Colorado over the sale of a decongestant believed to be ineffective.

It is just another of many lawsuits mounting against these three big-name companies across the country.

The class action complaint was filed with the United States District Court for the District of Colorado on Dec. 22. The complaint claims the companies sold and advertised products that contained phenylephrine, knowing that it wasn't effective.

The lawsuit comes after the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) released a study in September from the Nonprescription Drug Advisory Committee claiming the common active ingredient did not relieve nasal congestion and had little to no actual effect.

The study outlined the potential impacts that the decision could have on the drug industry should stores pull phenylephrine from the shelves. When examining retail sales data, an estimated 242 million bottles and packages of over-the-counter cough, cold and allergy medication contain phenylephrine, according to the study.

The total of these sales is an estimated $1.76 billion. The study did not take into account retail sales data from Costco, convenience stores, specialty stores, internet sales, phone sales or kiosks.

Many over-the-counter medications like Tylenol cold and flu, Dayquil and Nyquil contain phenylephrine.

The FDA has not released plans to pull phenylephrine from shelves at this time.

Lawsuit filed in Colorado over decongestant drug