A Philadelphia jury has awarded $10 million to the family of a 12-year-old girl who suffered a debilitating skin reaction known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) from Children’s Motrin.
Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Health Care division was held liable for injuries suffered by Brianna Maya, who was left blinded in one eye and suffered burns over 84% of her body after taking Children’s Motrin in 2000.
According to allegations raised in the Children’s Motrin lawsuit, the drug maker failed to adequately warn doctors and consumers about the risk of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which is a painful and debilitating reaction that has been linked to the medication.
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome causes the skin to burn from the inside out, producing blisters, severe rash and the skin may separate from the body. When the skin lesions affect more than 30% of the body, the condition is typically referred to as toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). Treatment in a hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or Burn Unit is often required, and the conditions can be fatal in many cases.
The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas jury awarded the family $10 million in damages, determining that the drug maker was negligent in failing to provide proper warnings about the risk of SJS from Children’s Motrin to the medication’s label. However, the jury did not agree with claims that Children’s Motrin was defectively designed.
J&J officials have said they disagree with the verdict and are considering all of their legal options.
This is the third Children’s Motrion SJS lawsuit to go to trial in recent years. In 2008 the company won a defense verdict in a claim brought by the family of an 11-year-old girl that sought $1 billion in damages. Last year, an Illinois jury in federal court awarded $3.5 million in damages for Stevens-Johnson syndrome from Children’s Motrin, but the award was thrown out on procedural grounds.
In February, a California appeals court allowed a Motrin Stevens-Johnson Syndrome lawsuit to move forward with a claim for punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson, after plaintiffs alleged that the drug maker’s failure to provide adequate warnings on their ibuprofen product constituted malice. That complaint claimed that Johnson & Johnson 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.