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Jury Awards $63M in Motrin Case

Filed February 18th, 2013 admin

A Massachusetts teenager and her parents were awarded $63 million in compensatory damages by a jury close to a decade after she suffered a drug reaction that caused her to lose the majority of her skin after taking Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) children’s pain reliever, Motrin.

J&J and its McNeil-PPC Inc. subsidiary will pay Samantha Reckis and her parents a total of $109 million in damages, including interest, a Plymouth Superior Court jury ruled, CBS News said. Samantha was seven when she was given Motrin brand ibuprofen. Samantha suffered a rare side effect known as toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) and lost 90 percent of her skin and was blinded. Samantha also suffered brain damage and surgeons had to drill through her skull to relieve pressure, CBS News said. The disease also burned her respiratory system, leaving her with just 20 percent lung capacity.

The family filed the lawsuit in January 2007, alleging that Samantha was blinded by Motrin. The suit claimed that J&J failed to warn consumers that the drug could cause life-threatening reactions. The trial, which lasted five weeks, ended last week when the jury awarded $50 million in compensatory damages to Samantha and $6.5 million to each of her parents, CBS News said.

Samantha had previously taken Motrin without suffering any side effects, according to the lawsuit. Her parents began giving her the medication to reduce fever that began the day after Thanksgiving in 2003. As a result, she suffered from TEN—a potentially fatal skin disease that enflames the mucus membranes and eyes and is marked by a rash that burns off the outer layer of skin—left doctors puzzled, CBS News said. The condition burned Samantha’s throat, mouth, eyes, esophagus, respiratory system and reproductive system, forcing physicians to put her in a coma.

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