Rite Aid Pain Patch Falsely Labeled “Maximum Strength” Suit Alleges
by Brian Eckert
Consumers seeking relief from muscle aches and pains were misled into paying a premium for Rite Aid lidocaine pain relief patches falsely marketed as “Maximum Strength,” claims a Milberg class action lawsuit filed in California.
If you purchased certain lidocaine patches from Rite Aid, you may be eligible to participate in this class action and receive a portion of any settlement or verdict that results. Read on to learn more about what the lawsuit alleges, how to join, and the types of compensation you may be entitled to.
Lidocaine for Pain Relief
Nearly 60% of American adults are living with pain, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics. To treat pain, people often reach for over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen, as well as topical pain relievers such as lidocaine.
The FDA approved 5% lidocaine patches in 1999 for the temporary relief of localized pain. At this strength, a lidocaine patch is available only by prescription. However, lidocaine pain relief patches are also available without a prescription at strengths up to 4%.
Rite Aid Lidocaine Patches
Rite Aid sells lidocaine patches labeled as “maximum strength” in 5-count and 6-count packages. These patches contain lidocaine 4% and are available for in-store and online purchase. They are indicated for temporary relief of minor pain.
Product labeling indicates that the patches provide pain relief for up to 12 hours. “Maximum Strength” is displayed prominently on the front of the package in contrasting color. Rite Aid-brand lidocaine patches are advertised as having the same active ingredient (i.e., lidocaine 4%) as competing products from Salonpas, Icy Hot, and Aspercreme.
Lawsuit: “Maximum Strength” Claim is Misleading
Milberg’s lawsuit opens with the commonsense assertion that consumers who purchase pain-relieving products strongly consider the strength of dose among competing products.
Labeling a lidocaine pain patch “Maximum Strength” would seem to indicate that it contains the highest dosage of lidocaine available. Moreover, the typical consumer lacks the scientific knowledge to determine the truthfulness of this representation about the product’s quality or strength. They therefore rely on representations made by the product manufacturer.
Defendant’s multiple and prominent systematic mislabeling of the Products form a pattern of unlawful and unfair business practices that deceives and harms consumers and the public.
Rite Aid’s claim that its 4% lidocaine products are “Maximum Strength” is false, because 5% lidocaine patches are available in the market. According to Milberg’s lawsuit, this false claim deceives consumers and capitalizes on their desire for maximum pain relief.
“Defendant takes advantage of this consumer preference for strong doses and/or maximum strength by prominently representing where the one place that every consumer looks when purchasing a product – the packaging and labels themselves,” states the complaint. “Defendant’s multiple and prominent systematic mislabeling of the Products form a pattern of unlawful and unfair business practices that deceives and harms consumers and the public.”
Lead Plaintiff and Proposed Class
The lead plaintiff in the case is a California resident who on multiple occasions purchased 6-count packages of Rite Aid Maximum Strength Pain Relief Lidocaine Patches, paying approximately $13 per package. He based his purchasing decision, in part, on the “Maximum Strength” claim made on product labeling.
Had he known about the false and misleading nature of this claim, the plaintiff says he would not have purchased the products—or would have paid less for them. The systematic mislabeling of Rite Aid lidocaine pain patches harmed him and other consumers, including those in the following classes:
- A national class consisting of all persons residing in the United States who, during the maximum period of time permitted by law, purchased the Products primarily for personal, family or household purposes, and not for resale.
- A California class consisting of All persons residing in California who, during the maximum period of time permitted by law, purchased the Products primarily for personal, family or household purposes, and not for resale.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and asserts claims for damages under false advertising, unfair competition, consumer protection, fraud, and unjust enrichment laws. It seeks compensation for monetary and economic injuries and injunctive relief to prevent future harm.
Consumers meeting class criteria do not have to hire a lawyer to take part in the lawsuit. Milberg is representing all class members on a contingency-fee basis. Our class action attorneys are national leaders in consumer litigation and have a long history of standing up to corporate America. We previously filed suit against Rite Aid for similar misleading claims about its acetaminophen products.