Rite Aid is the latest defendant facing a class action lawsuit filed in a California court on Oct. 6 over the pharmacy chain’s marketing practices of its brand-name lidocaine pain-relief patches. 

Lidocaine, a local anesthetic, is designed to block pain signals in nerve endings. Prescott is suing Rite Aid for violating California’s False Advertising Law, Unfair Competition Law, Consumers Legal Remedies act, common law fraud, and unjust enrichment, according to Top Class Actions.

Filed by plaintiff Steven Prescott, the lawsuit joins a growing list of retailers and manufacturers facing lidocaine litigation. Over the past year, lidocaine lawsuits have been filed against CVS, Target, Dollar General, Greenbrier International (under the name Dollar Tree) and drug maker, Veridian Therapeutics. 

Plaintiffs allege that the lidocaine patches they purchased do not contain as much lidocaine as advertised. Prescott’s lawsuit claims that Rite Aid’s branded lidocaine pain-relief patch is advertised as “Maximum Strength” despite the fact that lidocaine-containing medications contain a higher percentage of lidocaine. 

By labeling its product as Maximum Strength, consumers believe that they are receiving the highest dose of lidocaine possible, Prescott claims. Rite Aid lidocaine contains 4% active ingredient compared to prescription strength 5%. 

Consumers who have joined lidocaine class actions also allege that companies who sell over-the-counter pain patches with lidocaine falsely represent the efficacy of their products so that they can inflate the price. 

In addition to claims of medical inefficacy, some lidocaine patches are also allegedly poorly made. The Assured-branded lidocaine patch sold at Dollar Tree stores, controlled by parent company Greenbrier International, falls off within minutes even though it is supposed to remain on the skin for eight hours, consumers allege. 

In April 2022, Hempvana brand lidocaine-containing products, distributed by Telebrands, were recalled over unsafe packaging concerns. The recall affected approximately 183,000 units of creams and lotions with lidocaine because the packaging was not child-resistant.