Drugmaker Not Liable in Motrin Case
Jury Finds Johnson & Johnson Doesn't Have to Pay Damages for Girl's Blindness
WebMD News Archive
Children's Motrin Case: Back Story continued...
Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a rare and serious disorder of the skin and
mucous membranes. The cause is not always clear, according to experts at Mayo
Clinic, but is usually a type of allergic reaction in response to medication or
Among the symptoms and signs are facial swelling, blisters on the skin, and
mucous membranes, especially in the eyes, nose and mouth.
The next morning, according to the lawsuit, Sabrina woke with a high fever.
Her eyes had turned pink and her mouth was swollen and had sores. At the
hospital, she was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome. The damage to the
eyes caused great pain, Greene says, and eventually blinded her. While
prescription versions of ibuprofen have the warning about the link to
Stevens-Johnson, he says, over-the -counter versions do not.
The Malibu case is one of about 60 such lawsuits against Children's Motrin,
according to Greene, who is representing two other families. Greene's clients
asked for slightly less than a billion dollars, he tells WebMD, including
actual damages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
Children's Motrin Case: Second Opinion
The verdict may not mean other cases won't go the other way, says Miles
Cooper, an attorney with The Veen Firm in San Francisco, who has experience in
product liability cases.
"One verdict is not enough to predict the outcomes of the 60 cases,"
he tells WebMD. "I expect this case will be appealed by the plaintiffs. And
there would need to be at least four to six more cases tried to see what the
jurors' trends are."
A physician who has testified in product liability cases says he is not
surprised by the verdict. "Many, many OTC [over-the-counter] drugs can
cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome," says Neal Benowitz, MD, a professor of
medicine and biopharmaceutical sciences at the University of California San
Francisco School of Medicine. "It's very rare," he adds.
"Manufacturers cannot put every side effect down on a label, there is
just not room. What manufacturers have to do is just pick out the most common
and the most serious."