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Zicam Recall Still Weighing on Matrixx

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The maker of Zicam, Matrixx Initiatives, continues to reel from last year’s recall of its nasal cold remedy products. According to the company, sales for its fiscal first quarter, which ended June 30, dropped to $3.2 million, down from $6.9 million one year ago.

Last June, 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 The company had already withdrawn Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size, the third product named by the FDA

Since then, Matrixx has been named in lawsuits filed on behalf of hundreds of consumers and investors stemming from the Zicam recall. Bill Hemelt, President and Chief Executive Officer, said the company is engaged in mediation with the plaintiffs in an effort to settle the cases in order to avoid the costs and risks of litigation.

Hemelt also said Matrixx has entered into settlement agreements with 46 potential claimants who, several years ago, had threatened to file lawsuits against the company claiming that Zicam Cold Remedy nasal gel had caused a loss of smell, though the company continues to deny the allegations.

During the first quarter, Hemelt said the company reached a $5 million settlement with its product-liability insurer, $2.2 million of which was used for legal bills during the quarter. The remainder will be applied toward future legal bills, which the company anticipates will range from $1.3 million to $1.8 million each quarter.

Hemelt did have some good news to report. He cited year-over-year data that showed 5 percent growth in the company’s Zicam oral products and 7 percent increase for allergy and congestion products. He also said that the company’s 10 largest retail customers, on average, plan to stock more Zicam products on store shelves during the upcoming cold season.

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