Tylenol Wrongful Death Lawsuit Accuses J&J of Stealth Recall

The parents of a two-year-old boy who died of liver failure after taking Children’s Tylenol, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit that claims their son died because the drug maker chose to hide a problem with the drugs from the media instead of warning consumers that children might be in danger. 

Daniel and Katy Moore, of Washington state, filed a complaint against Johnson & Johnson and its McNeil unit, a number of executives and Costco last month in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, blaming the company for the death of River Moore, their two-ear old son.

According to allegations raised in the Tylenol wrongful death lawsuit, Katy Moore gave River Children’s Tylenol in July 2010 to treat a fever. He subsequently suffered liver failure and died.

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The Moores say that River’s liver was damaged by defective Children’s Tylenol, which Johnson & Johnson tried to quietly recall through what many have referred to as a “phantom recall.”

According to FDA investigators, Johnson & Johnson on several occasions hired people to go into pharmacies and stores and purchase every package of drugs that it wanted to recall due to manufacturing problems, removing the drug from store shelves without announcing an official recall or notifying the FDA, doctors or consumers.

Internal e-mails indicated that Johnson & Johnson executives congratulated each other on keeping the recalls out of the media. However, there were no efforts to warn people who had already purchased the drugs that there might be a problem.

Johnson & Johnson has defended itself by saying the so-called stealth recalls never involved products that were a health risk to consumers, and deny that the death of River Moore was linked to any such recall.

The Children’s Tylenol lawsuit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages, and accuses the defendants, which include a number of Johnson & Johnson executives, of strict liability, negligence, reckless disregard, breach of warranty, conspiracy and violation of consumer protection laws. The lawsuit also charges the defendants with inflicting emotional distress on Katy Moore, who had to watch her two-year-old child vomit blood, go into shock and die as his liver unexpectedly failed.

Side effects of Tylenol have been linked to a risk of liver damage and liver failure, primarily among individuals who received high doses of acetaminophen, the active pharmaceutical ingredient.

Outside the scope of the recall, Johnson & Johnson faces a number of Tylenol lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals who suffered liver failure. The complaints allege that the drug maker has known for some time that acetaminophen may increase the risk of liver damage, liver necrosis and liver failure, yet continued to sell the medication as a safe medication with insufficient warnings for consumers.


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