Matrixx Initiatives

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Matrixx Initiatives is a Nasdaq-listed company that speciacilises in over-the-counter drugs and healthcare products Zicam is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company, which produces a range of cold and flu remedies.

Cold remedies cause loss of smell

In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned that Matrixx's Zicam anti-cold nasal spray containing zinc "can cause permanent loss of smell," and urged people to no longer use the Zicam nasal spray. "FDA officials said they've received more than 130 reports about the loss of smell. The agency sent Matrixx a warning letter directing the company to stop marketing the internasal products," reported the Wall Street Journal. Lawsuits have been filed against the company alleging that the Zicam Cold Remedy nasal gel has caused the permanent loss or diminishment of the sense of smell or smell and taste." [1]

Fake news

Matrixx has repeatedly used video news releases (VNRs), produced by the broadcast PR firm D S Simon Productions, to promote its Zicam cold remedies. In January 2006, a Matrixx / Zicam VNR about flu remedies aired on at least one television station. [2] In October 2006, a heavily promotional Matrixx / Zicam VNR on cold remedies aired on at least two TV stations, without any disclosure. [3]

Suing for subscriber lists

In 2005 the Electronic Privacy Information Center joined with eight other civil liberties groups in opposing an attempt by Mattrixx to sue "a newsletter publisher to disclose his subscriber list. The company wants to use the list in connection with a law suit it filed against numerous unidentified people who posted derogatory comments about the company on Internet discussion boards." [1] (PDF file)

Contact details


Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Jennifer Corbett Dooren, "FDA: Consumers Need to Stop Using Zicam Nasal Products," Wall Street Journal (sub req'd), June 16, 2009.
  2. "A Ruse By Any Other Name: NBC station tries to turn a brand-name VNR into a generic news report," in Diane Farsetta and Daniel Price, "Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed," Center for Media and Democracy, April 6, 2006.
  3. "Feed a Cold, Starve the Truth: Two Stations Sneeze at Built-In VNR Notifications," in Diane Farsetta and Daniel Price, "Still Not the News: Stations Overwhelmingly Fail to Disclose VNRs," Center for Media and Democracy, November 14, 2006.

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