Vi-Jon, Inc.’s Germ-X alcohol-based hand sanitizers are at the center of a proposed class action that alleges there are “no reliable studies” that support the company’s representations that the products can prevent or reduce infection from the flu or other viruses, including coronavirus.
Echoing a proposed class action filed early last month against the maker of Purell, the 32-page case out of California notes that Germ-X and Purell are “nearly identical” products that both utilize ethyl alcohol as their active ingredient. The suit cites a January FDA warning letter sent to Purell maker Gojo Industries in which the company was warned that the agency was unaware of “any adequate and well-controlled studies” that support the representation that ethyl alcohol is effective at combatting the flu or other illnesses.
The case says that despite the FDA’s warning concerning Purell, the maker of Germ-X has continued to represent on social media and online that its hand sanitizer products can prevent the flu. A step further, the lawsuit alleges the defendant, “taking advantage of a newfound, widespread fear,” has “falsely” claimed Germ-X can provide “coronavirus/flu prevention,” in particular on Walmart’s website.
“Defendant misleads consumers into believing its products can prevent disease or infection from pathogens such as Coronavirus and flu along with other claims that go beyond the general intended use of a topical alcohol-based hand sanitizer,” the complaint alleges.
Vi-Jon’s representations with regard to its Germ-X products have ultimately allowed the company to increase its sales while capturing an unjustified market share from its competitors, according to the lawsuit. Moreover, the suit claims that due to the defendant’s representations, consumers in California have bought products that the FDA considers to be “unapproved for the purpose stated” by Vi-Jon.
The lawsuit looks to cover consumers in California who bought Germ-X products within the last four years.