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Defective Drugs Cause Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis

Steve Wagner

When Karen Bartlett was prescribed the drug Sulindac to treat her shoulder pain, she had no idea of the damage it would cause or the trauma she would have to endure in the coming years, and perhaps for the rest of her life. The drug caused her severe burns, scalding over two-thirds of her body, it damaged her esophagus and lungs, and also caused blindness. After 13 eye operations she remains legally blind, has difficulty eating due to acute lung and esophagus damage, and is largely unable to care for herself.

What Karen developed was a potentially fatal condition called Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, a serious form of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which is a severe skin reaction caused by consuming drugs like Sulindac. Karen was awarded compensation of $21 million by a jury after she sued the drug manufacturer, Mutual Pharmaceutical Company.

Mutual has now appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court contending that it was selling an FDA approved drug, and therefore cannot be held responsible for the injuries Karen suffered. Mutual contends that it is not accountable for the warning label on the drug, going by a Supreme Court verdict in another case, wherein the Court ruled that drug companies do not have control over what a drug label says. Karen’s lawyers have, however bypassed the label, and are contesting the case on the argument that the drug itself was defective. Mutual’s counter argument is that they have no control over the drug’s design either. In order to prove their point Karen’s lawyers will now need to provide the court strong grounds as to why the drug, being defective, should never have been released to the market.

Mutual may claim that the FDA, after comprehensive review, concluded that the drug need not be removed from the market due to the benefits it offers. However, the fact remains that Karen, and others like her, have suffered, and the side-effects of such drugs definitely outweigh any benefits there may be. Victims of defective drugs who have suffered blindness injury or any other injury are entitled to compensation to assist in covering medical costs and replacing lost income.

A similar case to Karen’s is that of 7-year old girl Samantha who nearly died and is now legally blind due to a devastating reaction after consuming Children’s Motrin. She, like Karen, had been hit by Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, which is caused when consuming drugs like ibuprofen (that is sold under different brand names, including Motrin). The resultant skin disorder is extremely painful, like having your skin burned off. A jury has now awarded Karen $50 million and each of her parents $6.5 million as compensation. The jury’s verdict is that the drug company did not provide proper warnings about the side effects of the drug.

Wagner Reese’s Indianapolis drug injury and medical malpractice attorneys can help you attain justice and compensation. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice through bad prescription practices, or the victim of injury due to defective drugs, contact us at (888) 204-8440 for a free consultation. You are not alone in your suffering; Wagner Reese is here to help you get back on your feet and get you the justice you deserve!


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