Getty Images
Purell Logo Jar Green Hand Sanitizer Smith Collection Gado Getty Images 5e7126f2d48ab 5e725b65e1608

FDA Warns Purell Following "Misleading Effectiveness" Claims

March 19, 2020
The Food and Drug Administration warned GOJO Industries in January about its marketing practices.

A series of individual and class-action lawsuits have been filed against GOJO Industries, claiming that the manufacturer of Purell made unsubstantiated claims about the effectiveness of its hand sanitizer.

The latest suit, issued March 13 in the federal court for the Northern District of Ohio, specifically identifies Purell’s marketing claim that it “kills 99.9% of illness-causing germs” as misleading and seeks damages for all consumers who have purchased Purell who “relied upon the product’s packaging and marketing materials.”  

In a February statement following the first lawsuits, GOJO CEO Carey Jaros called the complaints “without merit.”

On January 17, the Food and Drug Administration issued a letter to GOJO, warning that the language used on websites and social media accounts used to promote Purell was misleading. Specifically, the FDA warned that Purell, legally considered an over-the-counter drug, shouldn’t be marketed alongside claims that it reduces infections.

“FDA is currently not aware of any adequate and well-controlled studies demonstrating that killing or decreasing the number of bacteria or viruses on the skin by a certain magnitude produces a corresponding clinical reduction in infection or disease caused by such bacteria or virus,” the letter read. It also cautioned that citing specific diseases like the Ebola virus in Purell marketing could be misleading as well, since Purell is not intended to target any singular illness.

According to a statement from GOJO spokesperson Samantha Williams, the Akron, Ohio-based health company “took immediate action” following the January 17 letter and immediately began updating its digital marketing and website to comply with the FDA’s letter.

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused a run on hand sanitizers and disinfectants, including Purell and other GOJO products.

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!