J&J To Pay $48M To Man Hurt By Motrin

J&J To Pay $48M To Man Hurt By Motrin

October 6th, 2011 // 11:55 am @

A Los Angeles jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson and its McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit to pay $48.2 million to a man who developed a severe skin disorder and blood blisters in his mouth after taking the Motrin over-the-counter pain reliever. In reaching its decision, the jury found that the Motrin labeling was inadequate and should have been changed years before Christopher Trejo took the pills.

Trejo, 22, was 16 years old when he took Motrin to relieve pain he experienced after playing soccer. However, he soon developed Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, which his lawsuit alleged caused him to suffer burns over his body, as well as pulmonary damage, lost vision, infertility, scarring and a hypoxic brain injury. His lawyer claims his ability to see, hear, smell, taste and touch was severely diminished.

The health care giant “strongly disagrees” with the verdict and is considering “additional legal options,” according to a statement given The Daily Breeze. “As the makers of Children’s Motrin, we are deeply concerned about all matters related to our medicines and we are committed to providing consumers with safe and effective medicines.”

This is not the first time J&J has lost a trial over Motrin warnings. In May, a Pennsylvania jury ordered J&J to pay $10 million in damages to the family of a 13-year-old girl who suffered skin burns and vision loss in one eye after taking Children’s Motrin when she was three years old. Her lawyer charged J&J failed to include a warning alerting consumers that the med can cause Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (back story).

Trejo had taken Motrin in 2005 and, the following year, the labeling was updated to include side effect warnings about skin reddening, rashes and blisters as part of an FDA advisory concerning ibuprofen, which is the active ingredient. Trejo, by the way, maintained that the updated labeling would have affected his decision to use Motrin had he known about the side effects at the time.

As an aside, beyond the $32.5 million awarded Trejo for pain, suffering, lost earnings and medical expenses, the jury also awarded punitive damages – $8.79 million in punitive damages against J&J and $6.8 million against McNeil. Trejo’s attorney maintains the decision was designed to send a message to the health care giant, which tried to argue that its role was limited to acting as a holding company rather than serving as an “integral part” of the Motrin marketing machine.

Source: Pharmalot

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