BOSTON -- Health care company Johnson & Johnson has been told to pay a teenager and her parents $63 million after she suffered a life-threatening drug reaction and lost most of her skin when she took a children's pain reliever nearly a decade ago.
Johnson & Johnson and its McNeil-PPC Inc. subsidiary could pay Samantha Reckis and her parents a total of $109 million once the court adds interest, if the decision is upheld.
The case is similar to a Pennsylvania one in which a girl was awarded $10 million in 2011 after an adverse reaction to Children's Motrin caused her to lose 84 percent of her skin, suffer brain damage and go blind.
In the Massachusetts case, Samantha was 7 when she was given Motrin-brand ibuprofen, family attorney Brad Henry said. She suffered a rare side effect known as toxic epidermal necrolysis and lost 90 percent of her skin, he said.
She suffered brain damage that "thankfully" involved only short-term memory loss, he said, and surgeons had to drill through her skull to relieve some pressure.
The disease also seared Samantha's respiratory system, and she now has just 20 percent lung capacity, Mr. Henry said. She is also legally blind. The family filed the suit in 2007, claiming Samantha was blinded by Motrin and alleging Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers the drug could cause life-threatening reactions. The five-week trial ended Feb. 13.