The maker of the popular over-the-counter pain reliever Tylenol, Johnson & Johnson, won a legal case in which their medicine was challenged for its possible links to liver damage.
A jury in New Jersey ruled that Regina Jackson failed to prove her case. Jackson spent a week in the hospital after allegedly experiencing an overdose from the medication.
She was unable to prove to the jury that she had actually consumed the medication, and therefore she was unable to convince the court that the medication was defectively designed.
Jackson argued that the recommended dosage of Tylenol does not provide enough of a safety margin in order to prevent users from experiencing an overdose.
However, lawyers for Jackson are not convinced that the proper ruling was issued. One of Jackson’s lawyers, Clay Milling, says that he intends to make a similar argument in another lawsuit against J&J.
Milling said, “The important health issue that the Food & Drug Administration and the medical community has put on the table about Tylenol was not answered by this jury verdict.”
J&J is facing more than 200 lawsuits both at the state and federal level in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A federal trial that consolidates almost 200 cases is set to take place in Philadelphia early next year.
Many of the cases involve liver damage that allegedly occurred from taking the medication rather than actual overdoses.
Meanwhile, the company is confident in its defense.
Spokesperson for the healthcare unit of J&J Jodie Wertheim said, “We are committed to providing consumers with safe, effective and high-quality products and recommend consumers always read and follow the product label.”
Wertheim went on to state that the decision reached by the jury reflects the facts of the case.
Even if the outcomes of future cases are against J&J, the company is not expected to experience a significant downturn. J&J is an extremely diversified company, and pain medication is just one small part of the conglomerate’s business activities.
J&J has known for decades that Tylenol can be extremely harmful for users who exceed the recommended daily dose as well as for those who take the medication on a daily basis for many years in a row.
The company says that it is it is safe to take up to two pills of Tylenol every four hours and a maximum total of up to eight pills in a single day. The company places warning labels on its packaging, specifically warning users about the potential for liver damage.
However, some people have been known to misread the package. Some users end up thinking that they can take two pills every four hours, regardless of their daily total. Other users are left believing that they can take up to eight pills at a time. This has led to instances of overdose.
While some misuses have definitely occurred, Tylenol’s longstanding place in the market likely protects it from any serious changes.