With most store shelves picked clean of hand sanitizer these days, a growing number of class action lawsuits have been filed against companies that make Purell, Target’s Up&Up hand sanitizer, and Walgreen’s Germ-X.
The lawsuits accuse the companies of violating consumer protection laws in New York and California by misleading people about the power of hand sanitizer to prevent viral infections, without any evidence.
In January 2020, months before COVID-19 hit worldwide, the FDA sent a warning letter to GOJO Industries, the company that makes Purell hand sanitizer.
The FDA said Purell is an “unapproved new drug” because it claims to be able to prevent diseases and infections.
Purell is advertised as effective against “99.99% of the most common germs that may cause illness in a healthcare setting, including MRSA & VRE.” It is also advertised as effective in preventing diseases and the spread of infection with viruses like influenza, norovirus, or Ebola.
Unfortunately, the FDA said these claims are not backed up by any studies demonstrating that reducing the number of viruses or bacteria on the skin actually reduces the risk of getting sick.
Multiple class action lawsuits have been filed against the makers of Purell, Target’s Up&Up hand sanitizer, and Walgreen’s Germ-X.
All of the lawsuits accuse companies that make hand sanitizer of overstating their products’ effectiveness, or advertising their products as a way to prevent the flu and other viral infections, without proof.