The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

Baby Dies After Taking Contaminated Tylenol; Parents Sue

The parents of Markus Cherry, a 2-month-old child who died three days after taking infant-formula Tylenol, have brought a product liability suit in Cook County against McNeil PPC and its parent company Johnson & Johnson, CBS News reports.

Two weeks after Cherry’s death, the drug company issued a recall of the concentrated Tylenol Infants Drops following an FDA study that uncovered bacteria contamination in the drugs.

According to Michael and Malgorzata Cherry, Markus was perfectly healthy prior to being given the grape-flavored Concentrated Tylenol Infant Drops in 2010. Three days after taking the medicine, however, the infant was dead.

Testing later confirmed that harmful bacteria were present in the medication, the Cherrys’ lawsuit contends. FDA inspectors reportedly identified manufacturing and contamination issues at McNeil Consumer Healthcare plant where the medication was manufactured in Fort Washington, Pa.

The lawsuit claims that instead of issuing a formal, public notice of recall, McNeill did a “stealth recall” of the drug, meaning it hired a private company to simply buy out the entire stock of the drugs from retailers. In their suit, the Cherrys blame the drug company for failing to adequately respond to prior FDA warnings and not notifying consumers about the contamination early on.

The suit claims negligent manufacturing, liability for defects and failure to warn consumers, misrepresentation, and consumer fraud.

Drug manufacturers have a duty to warn their customers about any side effects of a drug when such side effects are known to occur. Manufacturers aren’t required to warn of unknown dangers. However, they are expected to stay abreast of knowledge regarding their products and side effects and update medical professionals and the public about potentially adverse effects.

The Cherrys’ lawsuit seeks at least $350,000 in damages for the death of Markus Cherry. Johnson & Johnson have announced that the contaminated plant that produced the Tylenol Infant Drops will remain closed until 2013.

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