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Jury rules against J&J in antibiotic suit

Jury rules against J&J in antibiotic suit

MINNEAPOLIS - A federal court jury has ordered pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson to pay damages of $1.8 million in the case of an 82-year-old Minnesota man who sued over claims the antibiotic Levaquin caused him severe tendon injuries.

John Schedin of Edina was prescribed Levaquin five years ago to treat a diagnosed case of bronchitis. After three days on the drug, Schedin ruptured both his Achilles tendons. In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration required Johnson & Johnson and makers of similar drugs to print warnings on the risk of tendon injuries.

That same year, Schedin sued Ortho-McNeil-Jansen Pharmaceuticals, the J&J unit that markets Levaquin. The Minneapolis jury on Wednesday decided the drug company must pay Schedin $700,000 in actual damages and $1.1 million in punitive damages, though actual damages will be reduced by $70,000 under the jury's finding of 75 percent liability for the company.

The trial was the first on more than 2,600 other U.S. lawsuits making similar claims.

Johnson & Johnson has operations in the Philadelphia region.