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 Johnson & Johnson Could Pay $109 Million After Cases of Children's Skin Death

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Join date : 2012-05-29
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PostSubject: Johnson & Johnson Could Pay $109 Million After Cases of Children's Skin Death   Tue 26 Feb 2013, 12:26

Johnson & Johnson Could Pay $109 Million After Cases of Children's Skin Death

Heather Callaghan

Activist Post

Samantha Reckis, who at age 7 suffered a severe reaction to the drug
Motrin, has received at least some hope of compensation for her years of
suffering and permanent damage.

More than 5 years after the suit was filed, jurors in Plymouth, Mass.
agreed that $50 million dollars should be awarded to Samantha and over
$12 million to her parents after finding health and beauty giant
Johnson & Johnson liable for physically devastating damages suffered
from a little-known severe reaction to Children's Motrin. If the trial
judge goes for it, Johnson & Johnson would pay $109 million if
interest is considered. However, an award that big for an individual
case is very rare - so it could be thrown out.

Samantha was 7 when she was given Children's Motrin (ibuprofen) and
suffered an allergic reaction that developed into toxic epidermal
necrolysis (TEN), a condition in which the blood vessels in the skin are
damaged to the point where the skin becomes necrotic and infection can
set in. Samantha's condition was described like "having your skin burned
off" and in truth, that is what happened.

At one point she required emergency surgery requiring
a drill to relieve pressure on her brain, caused by a buildup of
fluids. Although TEN has an extremely high mortality rate, Samantha
survived , but still has an 80% loss of lung function and permanent
partial blindness in both eyes as a teenager.

The family sued on the grounds that the warning label on the Children's
Motrin in no way indicated that such a horrible reaction could occur.
Many doctors are aware of a lesser condition caused by the prescription
version, but this family's doctors were at loss until one finally
figured out the connection.

Throughout the suit, Johnson & Johnson maintained that their product was labeled appropriately, stating:
<blockquote class="tr_bq">The Reckis family has suffered a tragedy, and
we sympathize deeply with them -- 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. (Source)</blockquote>But
most parents don't associate an allergic reaction with skin burns and
skin death, or permanent blindness. Also, this condition is called TEN
and can be caused by multiple factors and only rarely from an allergic
reaction. Along with their heartfelt concern, Johnson & Johnson also
stated that they are still exploring other legal options.

Maybe instead, Johnson & Johnson (the family company)
should assess a cause; they have been ushered into court at least four
times for similar cases involving Children's Motrin, costing them nearly
$70 million compensation to young victims. J&J got away with paying
nothing in another case where an 11 year old was left completely blind.
A similar case went in favor of a Pennsylvania girl who lost 84% of her
skin and suffered blindness and brain damage after a reaction to
Children's Motrin.
Dr Robert Sundel, a rheumatologist unassociated with the case, said that
much is still unknown about the disease and what triggers such severe
reactions in some ­patients. While specialists believe the syndrome can
be caused by viral infections, ­malignancies, or severe allergic
reactions to medication, the leading cause appears to be the use of antibiotics and sulfa drugs, he said. He was very careful to say rare cases should not dissuade parents from using Children's Motrin.

It is important to remember that many deadly drug reactions are
from drugs originally approved safe by the FDA. It took years, but we
now know that ibuprofenand acetaminophen can cause liver and kidney damage respectively, among other conditions. We're finally figuring out the global impact from overuse of antibiotics.
When approved safe without warnings, people like the kids who
contracted skin death can battle lifelong irreversible damage before
anyone even figures out what's wrong. Warnings, however, do not remedy
the cause - they cover future liability after enough people have paid the price.
It's similar to traffic lights that are only installed after a certain
number of people have died in that particular intersection.

Instead of taking the risk, no matter how small, it may be best to seek
the natural "counterparts" to pain medicine. For instance, Bayer's
Aspirin was originally derived from components of Willow Bark and later
made synthetically. Natural pain relievers that the Native Americans
favored give back to the body, whereas synthetic ones take up pain
receptor sites (weakening the body's ability to address pain),
accumulate in organs and bones, require a lot of energy to use, and
cause toxic conditions. It's even speculated that women who take lots of
ibuprofen for cramps have weaker uterine muscles when they need them
during childbirth, since the medication alleviates pain by stopping
menstrual contractions. Not that pain/fever meds aren't helpful during a
dire emergency, but they should not be taken with the frequency that
many people do.

Lastly, natural pain relievers cannot be patented!

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