Three residents of St. Clair County, New York and Louisiana filed a joined lawsuit in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Pfizer, Parke Davis and Warner Lambert. The lawsuit alleges drugs used to treat epilepsy caused them or their deceased relatives to develop a severe and potentially deadly skin disease.
Shirley Johnson and Michael Shepherd allege that they both developed Stevens Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, a debilitating skin reaction after taking prescription medication containing Dilantin. Lyndora Thomas Taylor is the third plaintiff, alleging her husband, John Taylor, died from Stevens-Johnsons Syndrome on December 31, 2009.
Stevens-Johnsons Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis are both skin disorders characterized by the discoloration of skin, shedding of hair and nails, hive or burns to the body and loss of eyesight and/or damage to internal organs. As the skin burns, it may begin to separate from the body. Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis refers to SJS skin lesions that affect more than 30% of the body, requiring treatment in the ICU or burn unit, with many patients dying from the condition.
According to the lawsuit, the US-FDA Adverse Event Reporting System, World Health Organization, Upsalla Monitoring Centre, and the Health Canada Adverse Event Database confirm reports of serious skin reactions in patients receiving Dilantin drug products. The complaint also alleges the drug makers were aware of the drug’s dangers but failed to inform customers of risks.
Pfizer admitted in its submission on Bextra to Health Canada that drugs containing Dilantin significantly increased the risk of adverse skin reactions. Its Bextra products contained black box warnings concerning risks of Steven Johnsons Syndrome but Dilantin containing drugs had no warnings present on the packaging.
The plaintiffs claim it has been more than 10 years since at least one of them took medication-containing Dilantin. However, the plaintiffs argue the statue of limitations has not expired because they were not aware of the source of their injuries until within the last two years.
The plaintiffs claim they incurred substantial medical costs, lost their ability to perform household services and suffered disfigurement, disability and pain, physical impairment, mental pain and loss of a normal life. Lyndora Thomas Taylor adds that she lost her husband’s love, care, comfort, support, affection society.
The complaint alleges Pfizer, Parke Davis and Warner Lambert acted in negligence, failure to warn, negligence in bringing Dilantin to market, negligent misrepresentation, strict products liability, misrepresentation by omission, negligence per se, fraud and misrepresentation, fraud by concealment, violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act and wrongful death.
Pfizer previously settled a $3.78 million wrongful death lawsuit brought on by the family of a 9-year-old New York girl who died from Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis caused by Dilantin.