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Hearing on Potential Zicam MDL Scheduled for Later this Week

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Zicam lawsuits are making their way through the courts.   A hearing before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) will take place later this week to hear arguments about whether federal Zicam lawsuits should be consolidated in one district in a Multidistrict Litigation.

There are currently 10 Zicam anosmia – loss of sense of smell – lawsuits pending in 9 federal courts.  These lawsuits allege that zinc gluconate, the active ingredient in recalled Zicam products, produces a caustic action on the nasal passages that, over time, can lead to a loss of smell.

The hearing before the JPML will take place in Richmond, Virginia  this Thursay, September 24.   Multidistrict litigation is a procedure utilized in the federal court system to transfer to one federal judge all pending civil cases of a similar type filed throughout the United States. An MDL is not the same as a class action lawsuit. Each case in an MDL retains its own identity. If the MDL  process does not resolve the cases, they are transferred back to the court where they originated for trial.

An MDL consolidation avoids duplication of discovery, prevents inconsistent pretrial rulings, and conserves the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary. The JPML was created in 1968, and since then, the Panel has consolidated hundreds of thousands of lawsuits, including litigation over asbestos, breast implants and other matters.

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) said it had received 130 reports of anosmia—loss of sense of smell—in people who had used the product. Following the FDA alert, Matrixx Initiatives recalled two of the products: Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel and Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs. The company had already withdrawn Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size, the third product named by the FDA.

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