Johnson & Johnson, McNeil Consumer Healthcare Ordered to Pay $63 Million in Motrin Case

Published: Feb 14, 2013

A Plymouth Superior Court jury on Wednesday awarded a Plymouth family $63 million after their 7-year old daughter suffered a severe allergic reaction 10 years ago to Children’s Motrin, a version of ibuprofen made by drug giant Johnson & Johnson. The child, now a teenager, was originally given the popular pain reliever after showing signs of fever. But after continuing to take the drug, Samantha T. Reckis developed blisters and fatigue -- and the condition only grew worse. Within days, it was diagnosed as Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, a rare and serious reaction to some medications, including ibuprofen. Hundreds of people contract the disease a year in the United States -- nearly one-third of whom die and many other are either blinded or suffer other serious conditions. “It’s like having your skin burned off of you,” said one of the family’s attorneys, Bradley M. Henry of Boston law firm Meehan, Boyle, Black & Bogdanow. “Imagine your worst sunburn times 1,000. It’s an absolutely devastating condition.” Reckis was in and out of the hospital for months, is now legally blind, and cannot walk more than 150 yards without exhaustion, her family said. The jury found that Johnson & Johnson and the division that makes the medicine, McNeil Consumer & Speciality Pharmaceuticals, failed to provide warnings about potential side effects on the versions of Motrin that are sold over-the-counter. The jury awarded the girl $50 million and each parent $6.5 million. The decision must still be reviewed by the trial judge.

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