Jury Deliberates Children’s Motrin Role in Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Case

Deliberations were expected to take place on Thursday May 19 in regards to whether or not Children’s Motrin was responsible for permanently injuring disfiguring a young girl. The Philadelphia jury is considering whether Johnson & Johnson should have taken stronger steps to warn parents and doctors that Children’s Motrin may cause Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), a rare and potentially lethal skin reaction.

Brianna Maya, now 13 years of age, developed SJS as a baby back in 2000. As a result, Maya has been subjected to severe pain and suffering. The crippling condition has left her blind in one eye and permanently scarred from the burns she has suffered on over 84 percent of her body. Due to the severity of her condition, her family has filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson alleging that the company should have taken stronger steps to warn parents and doctors that Children’s Motrin may cause SJS.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a rare yet serious disorder in which skin and mucous membranes develop adverse reactions to certain medications. Often, Stevens-Johnson syndrome begins with flu-like symptoms, followed by a painful red or purplish rash that spreads and blisters, eventually causing the top layer of your skin to die and shed. Sever cases of SJS can permanently disfigure an individual and eventually prove to be fatal if treatment is neglected.

In a reaction to the litigation presented in this lawsuit, attorneys representing Johnson & Johnson argue that there is no significant proof that lends weight to the link between Maya’s disorder and Children’s Motrin. They believe Maya’s family failed to prove that the drug was the cause of her skin reaction. The attorneys also saw it fit to mention that Johnson & Johnson had willingly complied with every U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation that pertained to labeling the drug when it was first released.

Though tragic, these allegations come at no surprise to Johnson & Johnson. Just last February, a California appeals court allowed a similar case to proceed after plaintiffs alleged that the drug maker’s failure to provide adequate warnings on their ibuprofen product constituted malice.