GOJO Industries, the maker of Purell hand sanitizer, is facing two class-action lawsuits accusing the company of “misleading claims” to customers that it can prevent “99.9 percent of illness-causing germs.”
According to NBC News, the most recent lawsuit, was filed by four people on March 13 in federal court for the Northeastern District of Ohio. The suit comes as retailers scramble to keep hand sanitizer in stock amid a coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 230,000 people around the world and forced millions of Americans into isolation indefinitely.
The other lawsuit was filed last month in the same federal court by different plaintiffs. That suit states that the manufacturer “has broken the public’s trust” by repeatedly marketing their products with unsubstantiated claims.
Purell’s label states the claim that the product can kill “99.9 percent of illness-causing germs.” The suit claims that it’s misleading because it implies “sound scientific support when none exists.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a letter to Purell warning GOJO against making unsubstantiated claims about the effectiveness of its products, back in January.
The FDA cited in their letter that Purell introduced several advertising campaigns suggesting that sanitizer could prevent the flu, ebola, norovirus, and other potentially deadly diseases.
“However, FDA is currently not aware of any adequate and well-controlled studies demonstrating that killing or decreasing the number of bacteria or viruses on the skin by a certain magnitude produces a corresponding clinical reduction in infection or disease caused by such bacteria or virus,” the federal agency stated.