January 30, 2015 — The first “bellwether” trial involving liver failure caused by Tylenol has been set for June 22, 2015 by a federal judge overseeing over 150 lawsuits.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel selected a lawsuit filed on behalf of a woman who died after taking Tylenol Extra Strength, which contained 500-mg of acetaminophen in every tablet.
Law360 reports that the lawsuit was filed by Rana Terry on behalf of her deceased sister, Denice Hayes.
In August 2010, Hayes allegedly used Tylenol Extra Strength according to instructions on the product’s label. One month later, she was hospitalized with catastrophic liver failure and died within a week.
The lawsuit is the first case to go to trial out of 163 cases currently centralized in a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2436) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The litigation has been centralized since April 2013.
Members of the litigation accuse Johnson & Johnson and its McNeil-PPC subsidiary of failing to adequately warn about the risk of liver damage from Tylenol.
The painkiller is currently one of the most widely-used drugs in the world. For over a decade, it was marketed for “safe, fast pain relief,” with slogans like “the one hospitals use most,” and “recommended by pediatricians.”
Unfortunately, acetaminophen is actually the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States. Just one large overdose can be deadly. Small overdoses, repeated over time, can be even more dangerous — often because victims do not realize they are harming their liver until it is too late to cure.
In 2011, the FDA asked drug-makers to limit the amount of acetaminophen to 325-mg per tablet and warned that overdoses “can be toxic and lead to acute liver failure.”