A young girl and her family recently won a $10 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson for the severe injuries caused by Children’s Motrin. The girl developed Stevens – Johnson syndrome (SJS), a rare but fatal skin reaction, to the medication, when she was just three years old. SJS lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm applaud the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding this verdict.
According to the Mayo Clinic, SJS is a disorder of the skin and mucus membranes and is usually an allergic reaction to a prescription or over-the-counter medication. Anyone can develop SJS at any time, and about 200 drugs have been known to cause it. Some of the most common drugs that can cause SJS include: Tylenol, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc), penicillin, Aleve, some antibiotics, and antipsychotic and epilepsy drugs.
The little girl at the center of this Children’s Motrin case is now 17-years-old and permanently blind from SJS. Her mother gave her Children’s Motrin for about four days because of a fever. After a few days she developed a rash that turned into blisters so severe that she was admitted to a nearby hospital.
Once SJS was diagnosed she was transferred to a burn unit in Texas. More than 84% of her body was burned from SJS, which causes the skin to shed off and is often described as “burning the body from the inside out.” The disorder often leads to eye inflammation, causing extensive tissue damage and scarring that can result in blindness.
Because she was so young and her body so small, the SJS ravaged her body and left permanent skin and eye damage. Her familyfiled a lawsuit on her behalf in 2009, nearly a decade after the devastating injury occurred. Her mother claimed she never would have given the girl Children’s Motrin if the drug’s labels specifically mentioned the risk of this horrific disorder.
The trial lasted about nine weeks and the jury ultimately found Johnson & Johnson liable for negligently failing to warn of the risks associated with Children’s Motrin, awarding the girl and her family $10 million. The mother argued that if the drug’s labels had instructed her to stop using the product if a rash occurred, she would not have continued giving her daughter the Motrin.
The jury agreed that an adequate warning would have prevented the little girl from receiving more and more doses of Motrin, which contributed to the severity of the disease. Johnson & Johnson petitioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to hear the case on appeal. The Supreme Court denied the appeal, upholding the verdict for the girl and her family.
In an unrelated drug recall case, Johnson & Johnson recently pled guilty for selling children’s Tylenol and Motrin contaminated with metal pieces. The company was fined $20 million for the recall in addition to $5 million forfeiture.
The contamination was first reported on in 2009, when a consumer complained to Johnson & Johnson about black specks in the bottom liquid of a bottle of Infant’s Tylenol. The company failed to take any action to correct the problem until the FDA stepped in. The agency investigated its manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania, prompting a recall of infants’ and children’s over-the-counter drugs.
The U.S. Department of Justice charged the company for selling children’s medications contaminated with nickel and chromium and failing to respond to complaints about the contamination. The company pled guilty to a misdemeanor violation of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act. The DOJ plans to keep aggressively punishing companies that disregard good manufacturing processes to assure quality medicines.
Drug recall lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are currently accepting cases of serious injury or death from prescription and over-the-counter drugs. If your or someone you love suffered a severe reaction, such as SJS, from a medication, contact our firm immediately. We have more than 30 years of experiencing fighting these types of cases, and offer free case reviews to potential clients nationwide.