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Family Sues J&J Unit Over Drug Reaction

Mar 15, 2005 | Star Ledger

A subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson is being sued by the parents of a 6-year-old Texas boy who suffered a severe reaction known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome after being treated with Children's Motrin.

Simon Saw began to develop internal and external blisters after his father gave him the Children's Motrin, which is an over-the-counter liquid ibuprofen, according to the lawsuit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Newark.

Kathy Fallon, a spokeswoman for McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson, said she could not comment on the specifics of the lawsuit because she had not seen it.

"Obviously, we're concerned about all matters related to our product," she said.

Saw remained hospitalized at Texas Children's Hospital for about 23 days last March for the severe blistering. He was re-admitted to the hospital in April with respiratory distress.

Lawyers for Saw allege the Stevens-Johnson Syndrome was caused by the Children's Motrin. As a result of the drug reaction, the boy required a lung transplant surgery, eyelid surgery and suffered temporary paralysis, according to the lawsuit.

Johnson & Johnson, McNeil- PPC and Purepac Pharmaceutical, which is part of Alpharma, are all being sued by the boy's parents, Chiu Pin Saw and Lin Chu Saw of Needville.

In December, lawyers for a 7-year-old California girl sued Johnson & Johnson, alleging Children's Motrin caused her to suffer from Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. The girl, Sabrina Brierton Johnson, became blind from the reaction she suffered after taking the medicine, according to her lawsuit.

The cause of Stevens-Johnson remains uncertain, although it is believed to result from certain antibiotics or from a viral infection, Fallon said.

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is not listed among the possible dangers associated with over-the-counter Children's Motrin, although it was included among the risks when it was sold as a prescription medicine.


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