Stevens Johnson Syndrome and Civil Liability

A 19-year-old woman from Califronia who complained of a sore throat was offered leftover antibiotic prescribed to a friend that left her in dire straits because it turns out she was allergic to it. She developed what is referred to as Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) in which the patient can experience severe blisters, temporary or permanent blindness, and lingering photosensitivity.

While the exact drug was not specified in the reports on the case, it is speculated that it may have been the antibiotic Zithromax (azithromycin) manufactured by Pfizer Inc. which has been linked to SJS. The drug had not been prescribed to the unfortunate woman, which highlights the dangers of self-medication but it may also be argued that drug manufacturers should make it a point to warn the public and not just doctors about the risks associated with the drugs they sell, especially when it comes to possible allergic reactions as that associated with Zithromax.

But to bring the point a little further, Pfizer has been questioned about their transparency about the dire consequences of taking Zithromax by patients who may be allergic to it. Doctors know that they have to test for allergies before prescribing the drug, but patients rarely have access to this information. The labels are not clear about the dangers as well, merely alluding to the risks of giving the drug to children. This lack of adequate warning can expose Pfizer to civil litigation because the public has the right to know about the risks they may be exposed to when taking these products.

If you have been seriously injured from taking drugs that did not have clear and adequate warning about the possible risks, you could sue the drug manufacturer for compensation. Consult with a personal injury lawyer in your area to know your rights and legal options.


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