Personal Injury May Result from Use of "Zicam Cold Remedy"
Zicam may cure the common cold, but can also lead to loss of taste and smell.
By Gerri Elder
“Zicam Cold Remedy,” an over-the-counter drugstore nasal spray, may cure the common cold but may also lead to loss of taste and smell sensation.
Mr. Donald Coleman, a resident of Bohemia, New York, utilized the nasal cold remedy for about one week before noticing anosmia, a medical condition involving the permanent loss of taste and smell sensation. Coleman filed a personal injury civil lawsuit against the manufacturer of the Zicam nasal product, Matrixx Initiatives, Inc. (Coleman et al v. Matrixx Initiatives, Inc. et al Case Number 2:09-cv-2838) in Mineola, New York in July 2009.
The lawsuit was filed by Marc Grossman of the law firm Sanders Viener Grossman, LLP, in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York. The law firm is dedicated to personal injury and innocent victims’ rights, and has a history of products liability cases against pharmaceutical companies. Grossman contends that “rather than a minor cold, Mr. Coleman now has a permanent injury that deprives him of enjoying foods and aromas that he loved.”
Zicam Cold Remedy nasal spray is an over-the-counter cold remedy product, which is labeled as “homeopathic.” The product’s active ingredient is Zinc Gluconicum. While zinc has been noted as a cure for the common cold, attorney Grossman references clinical studies dating back to 1937, which demonstrate that the use of zinc-containing substances is toxic to “smell receptors,” or the cells lining sensitive sinus walls. As smell and taste sensation are linked, the loss of smell receptors also results in a loss of taste.
Neither the Zicam Cold Remedy nasal product nor its “homeopathic” labeling has ever received approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In response to over 100 cases of taste and smell sensory loss, the FDA issued a public health warning for consumers to halt the use of and discard the Zicam product on June 16, 2009.
Grossman argues that “this is a clear example of an unregulated and unsafe product masquerading as a product that promotes good health.”
This particular case of a homeopathic, over-the-counter drug raises questions and issues surrounding other medical and food products that consumers assume receive FDA approval.
Many consumers assume that products sold on U.S. drugstore shelves have received FDA approval. A designation of “homeopathic” on the lower right hand of the label precludes requirement of FDA approval. But how many consumers closely read labels?
The recent scares of recalled contaminated food products such as spinach and peanut butter force consumers to question the adequacy and preparedness of the FDA. One is left questioning if the FDA is over-burdened and back-logged with product approval or if this is a risk of manufactured and mass-produced food products with a global reach?
Consumers are left wondering what the risks are of unregulated and uncertified products that they assume are regulated and approved, only to discover that those risks can include personal injury, detrimental health effects or product recalls.