A 13-year-old girl was awarded $10 million Tuesday after a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury determined she suffered a life-threatening reaction from taking Children's Motrin brand ibuprofen a decade ago.
Brianna Maya, of Tennessee, was three-and-a-half when her parents gave her the over-the-counter drug to treat a fever and cough. The side effects were initially minor and included rash and hives. Then blisters began to form in her mouth, her attorney said.
The lawyer, Eric Roberson, said there was no warning on the packaging of what happened next. The mucus membranes of her tiny body became ravaged as toxic epidermal necrolysis, a rare side effect, took hold.
Maya lost 84 percent of her skin, was blinded, and her reproductive organs destroyed. She suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen during the acute phase of the syndrome.
"She nearly died three times," Roberson said.
Because her injuries were so severe, she was treated at a burn unit for several weeks at Shriner's Burn Hospital in Galveston, Texas.
She recovered after receiving multiple skin grafts from cadavers. Her lung capacity is 50 percent of normal, but she has improved enough to play saxophone in her high school band, Roberson said.
The nine-week trial was held in Philadelphia because McNeil Laboratories is based in nearby Fort Washington and the drug was manufactured there, Roberson said.
Other defendants included McNeil's parent company, Johnson & Johnson, and Specialty Pharmaceuticals, a McNeil division.
Johnson & Johnson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Toxic epidermal necrolysis was a known ibuprofen side effect, Robeson said, though very rare. The potentially deadly reaction occurs in 1 to 5 per million users.
McNeil issued warnings for the prescription version of the drug, but did not list those warnings on Motrin packaged for over-the-counter sales, Roberson said.