July 22, 2014 — An appeals court in Pennsylvania has upheld a $10 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn about the risk of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) associated with Children’s Motrin, according to Law360.
The plaintiff, Brianna Maya, was just three years old when she developed a cough and started running a fever. Her pediatrician recommended giving Children’s Motrin (ibuprofen) and Children’s Tylenol (acetaminophen).
Within days, she developed a rash all over her body and redness around her eyes. This progressed into a life-threatening skin reaction known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which causes the top layer of skin to detach and slough off the body.
She lost 84% of her skin, suffered brain damage, and went blind in one eye. In May 2011, a jury in Philadelphia ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay Brianna’s family $10 million for failing to warn about the risk of SJS/TENS, according to ABC News.
The label on non-prescription Motrin did not include risk information about SJS in 2000, when Brianna was given the medicine. In December 2005, the FDA recommended adding warnings about skin reddening, rash, and blisters, to the label on over-the-counter Motrin, but the warning did not specifically include SJS or Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis Syndrome (TENS), a severe form of SJS.
Johnson & Johnson has lost other lawsuits involving Children’s Motrin. In September 2011, a California jury awarded $48 million to a man who developed SJS after he used Motrin in October 2005. In February 2013, a jury in Massachusetts awarded $63 million to the family of Samantha Reckis, a 7 year-old girl who developed TENS and lost 90% of her skin after she was given Motrin in 2003. The Reckis family filed the lawsuit in January 2007.
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