A Painful Suit: Safeway and Others Accused of Misrepresenting ‘Rapid Release’ Acetaminophen

A consumer filed a class-action complaint on Monday in the Southern District of New York against defendants Albertsons Companies, Inc., Acme Markets, Inc., Safeway, Inc., Better Living Brands, LLC, and LNK International, Inc. for purportedly deceptive marketing and selling practices of acetaminophen medicine.

According to the complaint, the defendants allegedly cheated customers by “uniformly advertising, marketing, and selling generic versions of certain over-the-counter drugs, including analgesic or pain-relieving medicines using acetaminophen” under the misrepresentation of the medicines being “rapid release.”

The plaintiff asserts that despite the defendants’ advertising of the medicine as being rapidly releasing, the product actually dissolves slower than non-rapid release acetaminophen products sold in the same form.

The defendants each sell a variety of health and wellness products, including over-the-counter drugs such as the aforementioned rapid release gel caps.

The defendants’ product is called “Signature Care Rapid Release Gelcaps.” The plaintiff contends that since the release of the gel caps in 2008, the defendants have “misled, and continue to mislead, consumers about the nature, quality, and effectiveness of the products through their advertising and labeling.”

Independent testing administered by Valisure, LLC revealed that the defendants’ gel caps dissolve at a slower rate than non-rapid release acetaminophen, and therefore do not provide faster pain relief as they are advertised to do. The results from Valisure were consistent with results they had obtained in 2018 in regard to gel caps sold by Walgreens, Walmart and Rite Aid.

The plaintiff argues that by misrepresenting their product on its labeling and advertisements, the defendants “intended to induce consumers to pay more than they would pay for other comparable products that are not falsely labeled.”

The complaint cites two violations of New York’s General Business Law, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, unjust enrichment/restitution, negligent misrepresentation, and fraud.

The plaintiff seeks class certification, an order declaring the defendants’ misconduct, favorable judgment on each count, actual, compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages, prejudgment interest, restitution, injunctive relief, litigation fees, and a trial by jury.

The plaintiff is represented by Bursor & Fisher, P.A.