A suit against Johnson & Johnson over warnings on Children's Motrin and Children's Tylenol is now awaiting the deliberation of a Philadelphia jury.

The family of Brianna Maya filed the suit after Brianna developed an allergic reaction to Motrin in 2000, when she was 2 years old. She is now blind in one eye and has sustained burns over 84 percent of her body.

Her condition is known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), "A rare and potentially lethal skin reaction that permanently disfigures." This painful disease has been linked to other medications before: "It can cause the skin to burn, producing blisters, severe rashes and the skin may begin to separate from the body." Burns of 30% or more of the body is known as "Toxic epidermal necrolysis" (TEN). Treatment in Intensive Care Units or Burn Units are usually required, and the syndrome is sometimes fatal.

The lawsuit alleges Johnson & Johnson should have done more to warn parents and doctors of the risk.

Johnson & Johnson, a veteran defending medical lawsuits regarding Children's Motrin, questions whether Motrin actually cased Brianna's SJS. Furthermore, their defense lawyers argue that the company has complied with the FDA's labeling regulations since Motrin was allowed onto the market 20 years ago.

The trial ended earlier this week and is awaiting the jury's deliberation.

A relevant case in February involved a claim for punitive damages in regards to a Motrin-SJS reaction. A California appeals court accepted the argument that Johnson & Johnson had inadequately warned of the drug's risks, in a manner constituting malice. Specifically, the company "Misrepresented study results to the FDA and did not tell the agency the entire truth about the risk of SJS from Motrin when it asked to be able to sell the drug over-the-counter."

Should the pharmaceutical company be held liable for putting into the marketplace a product that they knew, or should have known, of the risk of injury and side effects to patients? Let's wait and see what the jury has to say.

If you would like more information about how medical malpractice and negligence cases work in the state of New York, I encourage you to explore my educational medical malpractice website. If you have legal questions,  I urge you to pick up the phone and call me at 516-487-8207 or by e-mail at [email protected] to answer your questions. That's what I do every day. I welcome your call.
Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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