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This week, Matrixx Initiatives, the manufacturer of several recalled Zicam Cold Remedy products, agreed to settle more than 1,000 consumer lawsuits brought by Zicam users. Prior to this announcement, the company faced claims from consumers who alleged they lost their ability to smell and/or taste after using the products.

This $15.5 million settlement involves individual claims. Earlier this year, Matrixx settled 18 Zicam class action cases for $35,000 per case and attorney fees. The company also agreed to include a warning label on the recalled products if they are ever on returned to market.

In 2009, the FDA issued a recall for several Zicam products including their Cold Remedy Nasal Gel and Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs after receiving more than 100 adverse event reports and discovering nearly 1,000 problems linked to the medications.

The Zicam settlements are important for a number of reasons:

First, they will continue to prompt consumers to report any adverse effects experienced from the use of a drug to the FDA.

Second, they remind consumers that over-the-counter medications have the same potential for dangerous side effects as prescription medications.

Third, they demonstrate the effectiveness of lawsuits to bring changes that protect consumers. Consumer lawsuits are often ahead of the FDA in bringing attention to a drug’s dangerous side effects.

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