A proposed class action claims that while Walgreens advertises its lidocaine patches as able to provide pain relief for “up to 12 hours,” the patches frequently peel off within only a few hours of being applied.
According to the 26-page case filed late last week in New York federal court, the lidocaine patches’ failure to properly adhere to consumers’ skin prevents wearers from receiving the full dose of lidocaine and the accompanying pain relief.
The lawsuit claims Walgreens has sold its lidocaine patches—including its Pain Relieving Lidocaine Patch (5 patches), Pain Relieving Lidocaine Patch (6 patches), Pain Relieving Lidocaine Patches, and Cool n’ Heat Lidocaine Patch—under “false pretenses” given the products do not deliver the advertised dose of lidocaine.
“As a result of its deceptive conduct, Defendant is, and continues to be, unjustly enriched at the expense of its customers,” the complaint scathes.
The lawsuit alleges the over-the-counter lidocaine patches sold under the Walgreens brand name all contain the same misrepresentations regarding the products’ ability to adhere to a wearer’s skin. Per the suit, Walgreens represents that the patches are “[s]tay-put flexible,” can be worn for “up to 12 hours” and provide a four-percent lidocaine dose throughout that timeframe to help relieve pain.
Despite Walgreens’ representations, however, the lidocaine patches are unable to provide up to 12 hours of pain relief because they “regularly peel off within a few hours” and “oftentimes minutes” after being properly applied, the suit alleges. According to the case, the patches are unable to withstand regular activities such as walking, stretching and sleeping without partially or completely detaching.
Moreover, the suit says two types of Walgreens’ pain-relieving lidocaine patches were represented as able to provide “maximum strength.” The case claims consumers would understand this claim to mean that the lidocaine patches can provide the maximum amount of lidocaine available in patch form and are at least equivalent to, if not better than, other over-the-counter or prescription lidocaine patches. In reality, however, the complaint says there are “superior” patches on the market that deliver a higher amount of lidocaine, including a 5% prescription-strength lidocaine patch.
The case further claims that the “Maximum Strength” patches deliver the same amount of lidocaine as the defendant’s other patches that are not labeled as “Maximum Strength” and contain less lidocaine than other over-the-counter patch products.
The proposed class action claims Walgreens should have known its lidocaine patches were defectively designed due to certain reports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other scientific studies.
Per the case, the FDA has noted that transdermal drug delivery systems such as the lidocaine patches sold by Walgreens “systematically fail to adhere to the body.” The agency is currently developing industry guidance to address, among other issues, problems like adhesion failure where the quality of a product is “closely tied” to its performance.
The complaint also cites a scientific study published by the Journal of Pain Research that found most generic prescription lidocaine patches cannot adhere to a wearer’s skin for 12 hours. The case claims that although the study involved generic prescription lidocaine patches, Walgreens’ over-the-counter patches “use the same outdated and defective adhesion technology” and thus perform no better.
According to the case, lidocaine is a topical anesthetic that relieves pain by blocking the transmission of pain signals between nerve endings in a person’s skin and their spinal cord and brain.
Who Does the Lawsuit Look to Cover?
The case looks to represent anyone in the U.S. who purchased Walgreens’ lidocaine patches.
How Do I Join the Lawsuit?
There’s usually nothing you need to do to join a class action lawsuit. If the case moves forward and settles, that’s when those covered by the suit, i.e., the class members, would be able to file a claim for whatever compensation the court deems appropriate.
In the meantime, it may be wise to hang on to any receipts you have for Walgreens’ lidocaine patches and keep checking back to this page for updates.
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