A class action lawsuit has been filed against Target, claiming that the retailer has overstated the effectiveness of its in-house brand of hand sanitizer.
The complaint (PDF) was filed this week by Mardig Taslakian in the United States District Court Central District of California, seeking class action status to pursue damages for all consumers who purchased Target hand sanitizer, which claimed to eliminate 99.99% of germs, despite no scientific evidence supporting the claim.
According to allegations raised in the Target hand sanitizer class action lawsuit, Taslakian and other consumers purchased Target’s alcohol-based hand sanitizer as a result of the false and misleading claims about its effectiveness, which the retailer suggested was comparable to Purell and other hand sanitizers, which are in extremely high demand amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The lawsuit claims Target is misleading consumers into believing its hand sanitizer is as effective as Purell’s and can therefore prevent disease or infection from, for example, Coronavirus and flu, along with other claims that go beyond the general intended use of a non FDA-approved topical alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
For manufacturers to legally make claims that their products offer a medical benefit, such as preventing illnesses and diseases, they must go through the FDA’s Premarket Approval Application (PMA), which is a scientific and regulatory review to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the drug. The review process is a federal requirement intended to protect consumers against potentially adverse health consequences.
Taslakian claims Target has not followed the FDA’s guidelines and has not provided any scientific evidence to substantiate its claims of effectiveness in killing 99.9% of germs. He is asking for Target to pay compensatory and punitive damages for intentionally deceptive business practices, and also seeks a court order to stop Target from making the claims on the bottles.
The lawsuit is similar to one filed earlier this year against Gojo Industries, Inc. for alleged false and misleading statements made about Purell hand sanitizer products.
The hand sanitizer lawsuits have been filed amid one of the largest demands for sanitation products due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 334,000 people across the globe, resulting in nearly 15,000 deaths across 190 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).