In October, a California jury awarded Christopher Trejo, a 22-year-old male, $48,192,880.00. To temporarily relieve his symptoms of body aches from playing soccer, as well as a fever, Christopher took over-the-counter Motrin for three days, while living in his native country, Honduras. However, on the fourth day, he developed some blood-filled blisters in his mouth. These blisters were diagnosed as a drug-induced reaction called Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), which is a more severe form of Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS).
The Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis damaged his mucosal membranes, which protects the body from infections, and caused severe pulmonary damage, infertility from scarring, hypoxic brain injury, and blindness. SJS and TEN often require the need for treatment in a hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or Burn Unit, and in many cases, the condition can be fatal.
Trejo sued McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, claiming they failed to warn consumers of the risk for skin disease, as well as other serious conditions associated with Motrin use. Also, McNeil has no warnings indicating that if symptoms do arise, you should seek immediate medical attention and discontinue use at once.
A year following Christopher’s diagnosis, the labels on the Motrin bottles had been changed, adding warnings of possible side effects of skin reddening, blisters and rashes, as ordered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisories regarding ibuprofen. Christopher Trejo claims that the new labels would have affected his decision to use Motrin in 2005.
In May 2011, a Philadelphia jury awarded $10 million in a Children’s Motrin lawsuit brought by the family of Brianna Maya, a 12-year-old girl who has been left blind in one eye and suffered burns over 84% of her body after taking the drug in 2000. In that case, as well, the jury ruled that Johnson & Johnson was negligent in providing proper warnings about the risk of SJS and TEN from Children’s Motrin on the label.
It is difficult to understand why these pharmaceutical giants did not change all the labels on the Motrin products, including the Children’s Motrin after the lawsuit brought on by Christopher Trejo. They had many years to change the labels on the children’s medications. They chose not to. How many lives will be ruined before they will understand that the public’s health comes before their pocketbooks? Is this justice?