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Philadelphia Verdict in Death from Infant Tylenol Upheld

A July 2006 verdict awarding the parents of a one-year who allegedly died from liver failure caused by an overdose of Infant Tylenol was upheld by a Philadelphia appeals Court this month. At trial, the parents alleged that their son died after an overdose of acetaminophen resulted in liver failure. The parents argued that the warnings on the medicine were defective in not stating that liver damage or death could result from the medicine. In response, the manufacturer had argued that the child’s death was not due to an overdose of the medicine; that the parents had not followed the instructions and warnings on the medicine; and that if the child did suffer from an overdose of acetaminophen, it was because the parents combined the Infant Tylenol with other cold medicines that contianed acetaminophen. In upholding the verdict, the appeal’s judge held that the manufacturer’s appeal of 29 different legal rulings was excessive and not consistent with a litigant’s obligation to act in good faith and fair dealing with the court.

The verdict and unsuccessful appeal in the Philadephia case may be a sign of things to come as more of these cases are filed around the Nation, not only against the manufacturers, but also against the drug stores that sell the medicines. In mid-November, a Chicago mother filed suit against the manufacturer of Tylenol and also Walgreens, alleging that the death of her 4 month-old son was caused by the combination of Infant Tylenol Cold Decongestant Plus Cough and Walgreen’s Pediatric Drops-Cough Plus Cold. She argues that the defendants should have known the dangers of the key ingredient of the drugs and warned purchasers of the dangers. In response to allegations that she misused the medications, the mother asserts that she gave her son the two medications back-to-back and in the indicated doses over the course of 4 days and denied that she gave the child both drugs at the same time. An autopsy showed that the infant died of an overdose of dextromethorphan, which built up in his body over the 4 days of use. The mother argues that the defendants were aware of the dangers of dextromethorphan for years, but had not warned purchasers prior to the October, 2007 FDA hearings that resulted in manufacturers removing the products from stores.

Claims against pharmaceutical companies (drug manufacturers) are becoming more common. Also in the news recently, drug manufacturuer Merck has agreed to settle over 30,000 claims concerning the durg Vioxx for $4.85 billion. There have been similar claims concerning many other types and brands of defective medications. If you believe that you have been seriously injured as a result of a defective drug, you should immediately consult with a skilled trial lawyer concerning your rights.