An Advil lawsuit has been filed against Pfizer Inc. and Wyeth in a New York state court. It’s alleged in the complaint that Pfizer and Wyeth concealed for 30 years the risk of serious allergic reactions to its pain reliever Advil. The parents of a young girl contend that the drug was responsible for melting off 80 percent of their daughter’s skin. Thomas and Jennifer Lynch, the parents, said that Pfizer, which acquired Advil through its 2009 purchase of Wyeth, has failed to warn U.S. consumers that some people who take the drug face an increased risk of contracting Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), two serious, potentially fatal conditions. They say that their daughter was left permanently disfigured. It’s alleged in the complaint:
As a direct and proximate result of defendants’ wrongful conduct as described herein, [the Lynches' daughter] has sustained permanent harm and disfigurement, extreme physical pain, scarring all over her body, blindness in both eyes, and the attendant emotional trauma of being left in a permanently disabled state for the remainder of her natural life.
The Lynches said their daughter suffered “diffuse” scarring that can be addressed with cosmetic surgery in some areas but has to go untreated in others, leaving her with pigment changes across her body and potential infertility due to scarring in her vaginal and cervical area. They said that Wyeth has warned consumers in France and other countries about the risk of SJS and TEN, after admitting in 2003 that it had known of a “plausible causal relationship” between the conditions and ibuprofen, the active ingredient in Advil. But they say Wyeth hasn’t warned Americans of this risk.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered Wyeth to change its labels in 2005, but the company provided a “deliberately understated” list of symptoms such as “rash,” “blisters” and “skin reddening,” the complaint alleges. Pfizer and Wyeth have known for years that children, African Americans, females and others are genetically predisposed to contracting SJS and TEN as a result of taking Advil. A World Health Organization (WHO) database contains 397 reports linking the drug with those diseases. Mr. & Mrs. Lynch said that Advil’s risk of causing the conditions is four times higher than Bayer AG’s drug Aleve. The Defendants’ dermatology expert, according to the complaint, has confirmed that Advil is more likely to cause both diseases than other over-the-counter pain medications.
The following claims against Pfizer and Wyeth in the complaint are failure to warn, breach of warranty, gross negligence and other claims. The Plaintiffs are seeking punitive damages against the companies. The case is in the Supreme Court of the State of New York for the County of New York.
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