Johnson & Johnson is under fire in a recent class action lawsuit for allegedly misleading consumers about the effectiveness of their Tylenol Rapid Release Gelcaps.
In 2005, Tylenol® Extra Strength Rapid Release Gels were introduced to the American public as “specially designed” gelcaps “with holes to allow [for] the release of powerful medicine even faster than before.” Three years later, Tylenol® PM Rapid Release Gels were launched with the same promises.
But plaintiff Eduardo Hernandez of Moreno Valley, California says the claims that Tylenol Rapid Release Gelcaps don’t live up to J&J’s promise because they don’t actually work faster than other acetaminophen products. Specifically, Hernandez says that despite what J&J’s marketing and labeling would have consumers believe, the term “rapid release” does not actually mean that the drug works faster for consumers than non-rapid release products.
Tylenol® is the well-recognized and trusted brand name of acetaminophen. Acetaminophen, also called paracetamol or N-acetyl-paraaminophenol (APAP), is an over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer that comes in a variety of forms: liquid suspension, tablets, capsules, and gelcaps. In any form, acetaminophen is used to treat a variety of common conditions including headaches, muscle aches, arthritis, backaches, toothaches, colds, fevers, acute pain, chronic pain, etc. Typically, it is the first treatment recommended for any mild to moderate pain. Therefore, acetaminophen is one of the most commonly used drugs in the world when it comes to pain mitigation
Johnson & Johnson touts that its’ Tylenol Extra Strength rapid release gelcaps are “specially designed…to allow the release of powerful medicine even faster than before.” J&J also made the same “even faster than before” claim in its several of its advertising campaigns.
However, according to the complaint, J&J has long known that traditional, non-rapid release acetaminophen products can be equally effective in the same, if not faster, time period than its Tylenol® rapid release gelcaps. In fact, a new study demonstrates that Tylenol® rapid release gelcaps dissolve slower than J&J’s non-rapid release products. Yet, J&J charges a premium for its Tylenol rapid release gelcaps.
For example, currently at Walgreens, a regularly priced 100 count bottle of Tylenol® Extra Strength Rapid Release gels costs $11.49, while a regularly priced 100 count bottle of Tylenol® Extra Strength caplets costs $10.49 and a regularly priced 100 count bottle of Tylenol® Regular Strength tablets costs $9.49.
“J&J knew or should have known that Tylenol Rapid Release Gelcaps did not work faster than its other products, J&J falsely marketed the Rapid Release Gelcaps as providing the same effective medicine as its other Tylenol® products, but faster than ever before in order to induce unwitting consumers to buy the Class Rapid Release Gelcaps for a premium price – a price that exceeded the actual value of the product,” the Tylenol class action lawsuit states.
Hernandez says that he and other Class Members would not have purchased Tylenol Rapid Relase Gelcaps had Johnson & Johnson disclosed accurate information about the pain reliever. He is seeking to represent a proposed Class of consumers who purchased Tylenol Rapid Release Gelcaps in California.
Hernandez is represented by Crystal Foley and Mitchel M. Breit of Simmons Hanly Conroy.
The Tylenol Rapid Release Gelcaps Class Action Lawsuit is Hernandez v. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. Case No. 5:18-cv-02422, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Eastern Division.