Illinois Woman Latest to File Zicam Lawsuit

Another consumer who used a <"">Zicam nasal cold remedy is suing Matrixx Initiatives, claiming the recalled product destroyed her sense of smell.

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 The company had already withdrawn Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size, the third product named by the FDA.

At the same time, the FDA issued a Warning Letter to Matrixx. In the letter, the FDA said Matrixx had failed to inform it of 800 anosmia reports linked to the recalled cold remedies. Matrixx has admitted that it did not pass along those reports to the FDA, but has maintained that its legal counsel advised it was not required to forward those reports to the agency. In the Warning Letter, the FDA warned the firm that the products cannot be marketed without agency approval and also stated that the three Zicam nasal remedies did not include adequate warnings about the risk of loss of sense of smell.

Mary Pat Bollone, a resident of Illinois, filed her lawsuit on Dec. 31 in St. Clair County Circuit Court. Bollone claims she purchased and used a Zicam nasal remedy in March 2008. The complaint alleges that because of her use of Zicam, Ballone sustained permanent loss of smell and taste; suffered disability, loss of a normal life, pain, suffering and extreme emotional distress; and incurred medical costs.

In her 10-count suit, Bollone seeks a judgment of more than $500,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

The Zicam recall has prompted a number of similar suits around the country. Zicam lawsuits pending in federal courts have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation, under U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Martone in the District of Arizona.

This is not the first time Matrixx has been involved in litigation involving Zicam nasal remedies and their alleged association with loss of the sense of smell. In 2006 the company reached a settlement with 300 Zicam users who claimed their use of the nasal remedies caused anosmia.

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