(Bloomberg) -- French drugmaker Sanofi was accused in a lawsuit of misleading consumers about the effectiveness and safety of its “Icy Hot” pain patches that are backed ex-National Basketball Association star Shaquille O’Neal.A unit of Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. alleges that subsidiaries of Paris-based Sanofi and a unit of Japan’s Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical Co. are deceptively marketing their over-the-counter pain patches, which rely on the same lidocaine medicine used in Sorrento’s ZTlido product that has approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.The companies’ ads -- featuring the former Los Angeles Laker all-star center and Bob Arnot, who was a medical correspondent for NBC and CBS news programs -- dupe consumers into believing their products are more effective than Sorrento’s and offer “the maximum amount of lidocaine available in patch form,” according to the complaint, filed Tuesday in federal court in San Francisco.

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