FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2010-02-19
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of popular denture adhesives Poligrip and Super Poligrip, announced today that it will remove zinc from all of its denture adhesive products. The pharmaceutical giant has added the potentially hazardous mineral to its adhesives for decades, despite overwhelming evidence that consuming large quantities of zinc over an extended period of time can cause serious neurological damage.
The leading national pharmaceutical litigation firm, Blizzard, McCarthy and Nabers, which represents dozens of consumers poisoned by denture cream zinc, welcomed the announcement:
“Representing dozens of patients poisoned by zinc in denture cream, we have seen the damage wrought by this toxin," said attorney Ed Blizzard. "Today’s announcement is a responsible action for GSK to take and a victory for consumers. Unfortunately, it comes far too late for the hundreds - if not thousands - of people who have been crippled by zinc poisoning. “While we applaud the efforts of GlaxoSmithKline to make their products safer, the reality is, it should have removed zinc from its adhesives years ago."
Currently, about 70 lawsuits have been filed in Miami’s Multi-District Litigation against both GlaxoSmithKline and Proctor & Gamble, makers of denture adhesive containing zinc. And at least 20 other mass tort claims have been filed in Philadelphia, where GlaxoSmithKline’s headquarters are located. Recently, Blizzard was named to the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee for the Miami MDL.
“While today’s announcement is a positive step, consumers are still largely unaware of the dangers posed by zinc-laced denture adhesives,” said Scott Nabers, partner at Blizzard, McCarthy and Nabers, who is handling the firm's cases in the Philadelphia Mass Tort Program. “Poligrip products are also not the only adhesives on the market spiked with the mineral. Procter & Gamble, the makers of Fixodent, should also withdraw it's zinc containing denture cream product as it carries they same zinc poisoning risks to consumers.”
Over the last two years, three separate scientific studies have reported a direct connection between the use of zinc-laden denture adhesives and serious neurological disorders such as neuropathy. A 2008 study published in Neurology concluded, “chronic excessive use [of denture adhesives] may result in…serious neurological disease.” Another study published last year in NeuroToxicology identified 11 patients suffering zinc-related neurological damage and concluded that the “use of denture cream appear[ed] to be the sole source of excess zinc in these patients.”
GSK's statement on its decision to remove zinc from its products can be found here: http://www.gsk.com/media/denture-adhesive.htm.
For more information, see stories in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the St. Petersburg Times.