Feb 20, 2024

FDA Announces That a Decongestant Commonly Found in Cold Medicines Doesn’t Work

FDA Announces That a Decongestant Commonly Found in Cold Medicines Doesn’t Work - cold medicine

Every cold and flu season, millions of Americans head to their local pharmacies for over-the-counter medicine to find some relief from their symptoms. Many of these products, however, may be useless wastes of money, according to recent research. 

The Food and Drug Administration just announced an advisory panel’s unanimous decision that a common decongestant ingredient used in many over-the-counter cold medicines is generally ineffective, leaving consumers with unresolved symptoms and demands for justice.

The panel reviewed numerous studies and concluded this week that the ingredient phenylephrine, marketed as a decongestant, was essentially no better than a placebo. 

According to the FDA, about 242 million products with phenylephrine were sold in the United States last year, generating $1.76 billion of sales and accounting for about four-fifths of the market for oral decongestants. Among the products: Sudafed Sinus Congestion, Tylenol Cold & Flu Severe, NyQuil Severe Cold & Flu, Theraflu Severe Cold Relief, Mucinex Sinus Max, and others.

It has yet to be determined if phenylephrine will be banned from store shelves, but consumers are already taking action. Pharmaceutical manufacturers and providers, as well as any other business in the market, owe a duty to their consumers—to provide them with the effective products that they paid for and were promised would work. 

Now, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Walgreens, among other companies, have been accused in lawsuits of deceiving consumers about cold medicines containing an ingredient that has been deemed useless.

The first lawsuit appeared to have been filed in Pensacola, Florida, federal court. It stated that Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble should have known by 2018 that their marketing claims about products with phenylephrine were "false and deceptive."

The plaintiff, Steve Audelo of Florida, said he bought Johnson & Johnson's Sudafed PE and Benadryl Allergy Plus and Procter & Gamble's Vicks NyQuil based on the companies' claims that the products worked.

And these “deceptive” companies have so far denied the FDA’s findings instead of doing their best to make it right. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which represents companies that make over-the-counter drugs, argued that the ingredient was both safe and effective, while disregarding the FDA’s recent findings.

If you’ve given your hard-earned money to any of these companies for ineffective cold medicine, you may be entitled to get your money back. Contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to learn more about your legal options.