A woman from East Texas has filed a personal injury suit against the makers of Zicam, alleging that the cold remedy caused her to lose her sense of smell.
Mary Ann Brandon claims that she purchased the homeopathic remedy Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel because she was suffering from a cold. She said that after using the product only one time, she felt an intense stinging and burning sensation in her nose and subsequently lost all sense of smell.
Brandon said that even after seeking medical treatment, her sense of smell has only partially returned.
Brandon filed suit in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas on January 7 naming Matrixx Initiatives Inc. and Zicam LLC as defendants.
Court documents say that Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel delivers zinc gluconate to the nasal membranes. It is not considered a drug, so it has not received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
According to the suit, the product causes anosmia, which is the loss of the sense of smell.
Brandon claims the product was “unreasonably dangerous” and her loss of smell has also caused her ability to taste to be “severely diminished” and also “permanent and irreversible.”
The suit alleges strict liability through design, manufacture, and marketing, misrepresentation through saying the product was safe and free of defects, and breach of express and implied warranties.
The suit alleges negligence on the part of the defendants for failure to design the product for intranasal use, failure to adequately and properly test the product, failure to warn, and failure to design the product with prevailing industry and scientific standards. The suit also claims negligence for failure to investigate into the historical and scientific evidence relating intranasal zinc application to permanent, total, and irreversible anosmia.
Brandon seeks damages for pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life, physical injuries, medical expenses, attorney fees, and pre- and post judgment interest.
In 2006, suits began to be filed against Zicam after a doctor in Colorado said that he had discovered a link between the product and smell loss. But Dr. Bruce Jafek, a University of Colorado School of Medicine ear, nose, and throat specialist’s, expert testimony was rejected by several courts.