Johnson and Johnson has been ordered to pay a Massachusetts family $63 million dollars. This award was after five weeks of trial. The family claimed that this industry giant did not properly make consumers aware of the potential side effects of using the medication, including a condition known as toxic epidermal necrolysis.
Samantha Reckis, now 16 years old, tool Children's Motrin when she was 7 years old to treat a fever. She had previously taken the medication and suffered no side effects, however, in this instance in November 2003. After taking the follow up doses, Samantha started developing blisters, experiencing fatigue, and other symptoms. Within days she was in serious danger with her health having developed Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, a rare and serious reaction to some medications, including ibuprofin.
As a result Samantha lost 90 percent of her skin, was blinded, suffered short term memory loss and left her with only 20% of her lung capacity. The disease is potentially fatal and her her symptoms "puzzled physicians." Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis is a disease which burns the mucus membranes, eyes, and burns off the outer layer of skin. The NY Post reported that the disease "inflamed Samantha's throat, mouth, eyes, esophagus, intestinal tract, respiratory system and reproductive system, forcing physicians to put her in a coma." Samantha has been left with brain, lung and liver damage but her father says she remains successful in school, she just has to work harder at it.
Huffington Post reports that The McNeil Unit of Johnson and Johnson disagreed with the verdict and are considering additional legal options. They state, "The Reckis family has suffered a tragedy, and we sympathize deeply with them." However they also believe the product to be "labeled appropriately" and when used as directed is "a safe and effective treatment option for minor aches and pains and fever. A number of medicines, including ibuprofen, have been associated with allergic reactions and as noted on the label, consumers should stop using medications and immediately contact a healthcare professional if they have an allergic reaction," it said in the statement.
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The Reckis family disagrees stating, “Drug companies like Johnson & Johnson can no longer hide behind an approval by the overworked FDA as an excuse not to warn consumers about known, devastating drug reactions… Parents like us have a right to know.”