A Robitussin customer is seeking Class certification of a Pfizer lawsuit that claims its “maximum strength” cough medication is actually less potent than regular strength Robitussin. The attorney argues that “calling a cough medicine ‘Maximum Strength’ to extract a higher price from consumers — when it is weaker than the regular strength version — is a perfect example of why class actions play a vital role in our system. No individual purchase could afford to prove the fraud on their own, but class members were misled by Pfizer and are upset about it.” Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this with Scott Hardy from Top Class Actions.
*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.
Farron Cousins: Well, right now we’re officially pretty much in the middle of cold and flu season here in the United States and as such, people are turning to over the counter remedies to try to shorten their colds, keep their kids feeling better and just overall make sure that they can make it through this season without being run down with a bad cold or flu.
But some of these over the counter medicines are not quite what they appear to be, and I’m joined now by Scott Hardy from topclassactions.com to explain what’s happening. Scott, great piece, topclassactions.com talking about this Robitussin class action. Explain what this case is about.
Scott Hardy: Well, it’s, it’s really funny because this article at face value is not something like, oh, it’s a cough medicine class action move on. But this is a huge case because what it talks about is that the makers of Robitussin release their cough medicine, their “maximum strength cough medicine” and called it maximum strength cost medicine when in fact they lowered the amount of active ingredients in this cough medicine. So it’s doesn’t even have the amount of active ingredients as, as their regular Robitussin cough medicine does and they are charging more for the maximum strength cough medicine.
And so you’ve cut the, the pharmaceutical manufacturer, Pfizer who actually owns Robitussin. Pfizer knowingly did this. This wasn’t an accidental, oh, we didn’t know that it wasn’t maximum strength. Sorry about that. Oh no. They knew what they were doing and they intentionally decreased the number of active ingredients within this cough medicine, which is exactly why class actions are here to fight against things like these.
So this will be really interesting to watch, especially when you’ve got a, a huge class action firm leading the plaintiffs in Hagens Berman. So, this will have grand implications I think across all cold cough medicine relief because I personally, when I get sick, I go into the store, I buy the maximum strength because I want to get better. And now we’re finding out that Pfizer might be selling cough medicine that in fact isn’t maximum strength and I could save money if I went to their regular cough medicine. That’s just disappointing and really, really sad on Pfizer’s part.
Farron Cousins: Exactly, and you know, I’m the same way. Anytime I get any kind of cold or anything, I always go right for the maximum strength. I want to knock this thing out as fast as possible and I think most people are like that too. If you have to spend $2 or $3 more, you know, for this maximum strength, we’re willing to do it because this is basically telling us you’re going to get better faster if you take this maximum strength. And as you pointed out, this was a plan by Pfizer to gradually decrease the amount of active ingredients and the lawsuit, according to the lawsuit, it actually had a name, a project name. This was called Project Accelerate by lowering the active ingredients was called Project Accelerate. So this was a plan.
This was something they knew they were doing. I’m sure there’s documents that back all of this up as you know, any pharmaceutical case, there’s always the bad documents, you know, the hot documents that tell the story pretty much completely. And I think this Project Accelerate, is probably going to be exhibit A in these lawsuits because it shows that this company was systemically doing this while still charging people, still labeling it as maximum strength but not even having as much active ingredients as the regular strength sitting on the store shelf right next to it.
Scott Hardy: Exactly, and with Hagens Berman going after Pfizer for this case, you can be guaranteed that they’re issuing subpoenas for all of these Project Accelerate our profits as we might want to call it. The, for Project Accelerate, our profits with Pfizer. What other products were included in that? I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have just been a Robitussin maximum strength. And so we could see a number of other class actions get filed over the coming months as that discovery happens, as we find out what other products were impacted.And you know, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Pfizer start taking some products off the shelf in preparation for it or actively changing the labels.
So when they do get hit with eventual class actions, if there are more out there, you know, I don’t know, maybe this was the only product that was effected by Project Accelerate our profits by Pfizer, but if it wasn’t then we’re going to see a lot more class actions filed by Hagens Berman in the coming months and we’re hopefully going to see better labeling and better controls over what these pharmaceutical companies can call their cough medicines, cold medicines or cough syrups. So when we go in and try to get a maximum strength medicine, we’re actually getting it. We’re not getting something that was intentionally weakened so they can maximize their profits.
And you know, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Pfizer start taking some products off the shelf in preparation for it or actively changing the labels. So when they do get hit with eventual class actions, if there are more out there, you know, I don’t know, maybe this was the only product that was effected by Project Accelerate our profits by Pfizer, but if it wasn’t then we’re going to see a lot more class actions filed by Hagens Berman in the coming months and we’re hopefully going to see better labeling and better controls over what these pharmaceutical companies can call their cough medicines, cold medicines or cough syrups. So when we go in and try to get a maximum strength medicine, we’re actually getting it. We’re not getting something that was intentionally weakened so they can maximize their profits.
Farron Cousins: Right, and in the meantime, what consumers need to do is if you’re going into, you know, the drug store, big box store, grocery store, whatever it is to look for cough or cold medicine, make sure you sit there, check out the labels, compare the labels. You know, make sure this one has the same active ingredients as this one and if it’s maximum strength that it has more of the active ingredients as the regular strength. Arm yourself with this knowledge.
Don’t feel bad if you feel like you’re kind of taking up space in that aisle and people are trying to get around you. You have to protect yourself from some of these scams that corporations are running. Take a few minutes out of your time, do this, check those labels and make sure you’re protecting yourself, but if you have purchased this Robitussin maximum strength or really any others, I suggest you follow the link in the description of this video. Go to topclassactions.com.
Find out more and find out what you need to do and while you’re there, subscribe to their newsletter so you can stay on top of all of these issues that are so important to American consumers. Scott Hardy, topclassactions.com. Thank you for joining us today.
Scott Hardy: Thanks Farron, appreciate it.