July 1, 2011 – The first bellwether case scheduled to go to trial over Fixodent zinc poisoning side effects was thrown out of court after it was discovered that the plaintiff’s expert witness testimony was excluded by a judge handling pretrial proceedings. With no expert witnesses to support the injury claims, the lawsuit was dismissed before trial was scheduled to begin on June 20. Nationwide, dozens of complaints have been filed against the makers of Fixodent and Super PoliGrip by individuals who claim to have suffered severe nerve damage and other serious side effects after using their denture cream products.
What’s the problem?
The recent Fixodent zinc poisoning lawsuit, which was filed by Daniel and Marianne Chapman, was scheduled to be the first of a number of similar cases consolidated and centralized as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida before U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga.
During pretrial proceedings, Judge Altonaga granted defense attorneys’ request to bar testimony from the Chapman’s expert witnesses, ruling that the three experts provided no reliable basis for the jury to conclude that Fixodent can cause myelopathy, a rare but serious spinal cord injury that has been linked to denture creams containing zinc. With no credible expert witnesses to support the plaintiff’s claims, the lawsuit was thrown out of court before trial was set to begin on June 20.
Last year, it was reported that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) had reached settlement agreements in the vast majority of Super PoliGrip side effects cases filed against the company. However, Procter and Gamble has stated that it intends to fight the claims filed over Fixodent side effects.
Fixodent Side Effects
Although denture creams have been on the market for decades, an increasing number of users have become concerned about possible neurological issues from these products. The cause for alarm seems to be centered around zinc, which is a primary ingredient in Fixodent, PoliGrip, and many other denture cream adhesives. The high levels of zinc contained in these products can lead to severe side effects including (but not limited to):
- zinc poisoning
- copper deficiency
- nerve damage
- blood problems
GSK Removes Zinc from PoliGrip
In response to a growing number of lawsuits, in February 2010 GSK announced that it planned to stop selling a number of PoliGrip denture cream products. Additionally, the company stated that it was going to remove zinc from its existing denture cream line. Michael E. Schmidt, Managing Partner of Schmidt & Clark, LLP (who represents a number of Poligrip users), learned of Glaxo’s decision to discontinue the use of Zinc and stated,
“I am not surprised Glaxo has made this decision. The company is facing a growing number of lawsuits from consumers claiming to have been injured by their products. I applaud them for taking this dangerous product off the market, but for some of our clients the move comes a little too late.”