Class Action Filed On Behalf of Individuals Who Purchased Purell-Branded Advanced Hand Sanitizer Products, Including Gels and Foams, Arising From Defendant’s Alleged False and Misleading Labeling, Advertising and Marketing of Purell
Kehoe Law Firm, P.C. is making consumers aware that on March 13, 2020, a class action lawsuit was filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, against GOJO Industries, Inc., d/b/a Purell (“Defendant”).
According to the class action complaint:
Defendant has advertised and marketed, and continues to advertise and market, that the [Purell-branded Advanced Hand Sanitizer products] help prevent infection, as well as diseases such as the flu and the common cold. Defendant’s labeling and marketing of the [Purell-branded Advanced Hand Sanitizer products] invokes specific statistics and other claims which imply to consumers that the statistics are backed by sound scientific evidence, when in fact, there is no sound scientific evidence to support the statistics or other claims. Therefore, the labeling and marketing of the products is misleading because they imply sound scientific support when none exists.
For example, the front label of the [Purell-branded Advanced Hand Sanitizer products] prominently claims that “Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer kills 99.99% of illness causing germs.” Defendant additionally makes claims, on the labels and elsewhere, regarding the “strength” of the Products relative to other similar products, including that they are “2X” as powerful as the products of competitors, or that one squirt of Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer gel can do the work of two squirts of other products. These claims, by their specific nature and invocation of particular statistics (i.e., 99.99% and 2X), imply and create the impression that the claims have a reliable scientific basis. To the contrary, these claims lack a scientific basis, rendering the affirmative misrepresentations misleading.
Defendant has falsely advertised the qualities and capabilities of the [Purell-branded Advanced Hand Sanitizer products] and misled consumers into purchasing the Products, which . . . were and are available directly from Defendant and from many third party retailers.
Plaintiffs and members of the Classes . . . purchased the [Purell-branded Advanced Hand Sanitizer products] based on the claims made in Defendant’s false labeling, advertising and marketing. [Emphasis added.]
FDA Warning Letter Sent to Defendant
The complaint alleges that “[o]n January 17, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration . . . sent a warning letter (“Warning Letter”) to Defendant that described the [Purell-branded Advanced Hand Sanitizer products] as merely topical antiseptics, which were not proven to be safe and effective in preventing infection or various diseases referenced and implied in Defendant’s false advertising.” According to the complaint, “[t]he Warning Letter specifically noted that additional representations Defendant had made about the [Purell-branded Advanced Hand Sanitizer products’] effectiveness against the flu, norovirus, and ebola were unsubstantiated insofar as the FDA was not aware of any study showing that killing bacteria or virus on skin reduced the likelihood of infection or disease in users.” [Emphasis added.]
Products Manufactured By GOJO Industries, d/b/a Purell
Defendant GOJO Industries, d/b/a Purell, according to the complaint, ” . . . manufactures and distributes the [Purell-branded Advanced Hand Sanitizer products] . . . consisting primarily of ethyl alcohol, under the brand Purell, throughout the United States via third party retailers and Defendant’s website (which can also redirect consumers to third party retailers). The Products, which specifically include [‘]PURELL® Healthcare Advanced Hand Sanitizer Gentle & Free Foam,’ ‘PURELL® Healthcare Advanced Hand Sanitizer Gel,’ ‘PURELL® Healthcare Advanced Hand Sanitizer Foam,’ ‘PURELL® Healthcare Advanced Hand Sanitizer Gentle & Free Foam ES6 Starter Kit,’ and ‘PURELL® Healthcare Advanced Hand Sanitizer ULTRA NOURISHING™ Foam,’ are sold in various sizes.”