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Tylenol maker's legal win not necessarily end of the battle

Back in December, we made note of the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had raised the volume on its recommendation to reduce dose amounts for patients taking drugs that are combined with an unsafe level of acetaminophen. That's the same pain reliever found in the popular brand Tylenol.

As we observed in that post, there have long been concerns that acetaminophen in doses of more than 325 milligrams might cause severe liver damage. Instances of reported problems have sparked hundreds of lawsuits. Allegations include claims that manufacturers knew or should have known about negative side effects and withheld the information.

Well, the first of these cases has gone to trial against Tylenol maker Johnson & Johnson and the verdict is being chalked up as a victory for the manufacturer. However, that isn't the end of the story. The trial didn't take place in Texas, but we suspect readers here will want to know what's going on.

Jurors in the New Jersey court did rule in the company's favor. But the scope of the decision was limited. The panel determined that the plaintiff's claim that Extra Strength Tylenol had caused her liver damage couldn't be upheld because she hadn't proven that she had actually taken that drug.

The jury didn't make a ruling on the woman's allegation of defective product design. She claims that the recommended dosage she took fails to provide a margin of safety that protects users from overdosing.

Legal observers say the verdict does not answer the key question of safety and that some 200 lawsuits that have been consolidated under federal jurisdiction are still slated to go to trial early next year in Pennsylvania.

If someone suffers physical injury, illness or death after taking medication as prescribed because that product is unsafe, they should be aware of their options for seeking compensation under the law. Speaking with an experienced attorney is the first step in getting the necessary information.

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