A Children’s Motrin product liability lawsuit has been allowed to move forward. The plaintiffs allege that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn about the risk of serious and potentially deadly skin problems from Motrin.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez rejected a motion to dismiss by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
The complaint alleges that McNeil failed to properly warn consumers that side effects Motrin may included a risk of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) reactions.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of two minor children and their parents. The children were diagnosed with SJS and TEN in 2009 after taking Children’s Motrin to treat fevers.
According to McNeil, SJS and TEN side effects were so rare that it did not need to warn consumers about them. Valdez rejected that argument, saying it was not a defense against a failure to warn.
SJS and TEN often result in the need for treatment in a hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or Burn Unit, and the conditions can be fatal in many cases. The condition can cause organ damage, disfigurement through skin loss, and blindness.
The Motrin skin problems are listed as a potential side effect on prescription-strength ibuprofen, but the lower-dose over-the-counter versions marketed as Motrin and Children’s Motrin do not warn that the drug could cause Stevens-Johnson Syndrome or Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis.
In addition, over-the-counter Motrin labels in some other countries do carry such warnings.
Last year, the drug maker was crushed by a Los Angeles jury that awarded more than $48 million to a man diagnosed with SJS after taking Motrin as a teen.
In May, a Philadelphia jury awarded $10 million in a Children’s Motrin lawsuit brought by the family of Brianna Maya, a 12-year-old girl who has been left blinded in one eye and suffered burns over 84% of her body after taking the drug in 2000.
In that case, the jury also ruled that Johnson & Johnson was negligent in failing to provide proper warnings about the risk of SJS and TEN from Children’s Motrin on the medication’s label.
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