Tylenol is a household name in Texas and the rest of the country, and many Americans depend on the painkiller when they have headaches or other pains. But acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, can lead to liver failure if taken in high doses. Currently, Tylenol is the subject of complex litigation over claims that it is responsible for the deaths of people who took the painkiller.
In response to concerns that acetaminophen could cause liver failure, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration changed its regulations in 2009 to require new warnings on over-the-counter products containing the drug. Two years later, the FDA asked manufacturers of products containing acetaminophen to limit the amount of the drug in each tablet to 325 milligrams.
In a number of lawsuits, plaintiffs have argued that the makers of Tylenol did not do enough to warn doctors and consumers of the risks acetaminophen poses to liver health and should have lowered dosage levels on its own before the FDA imposed the 325 mg limit.
At least one of these lawsuits was filed by a Texas man who claims that Tylenol led to the death of a close relative. He filed a wrongful death claim against manufacturers McNeil-PPC Inc., its parent company Johnson & Johnson and McKesson Corp.
Wrongful death is a kind of personal injury claim filed by immediate family members of a person who died on behalf of the deceased person's estate. If the person's death was caused by the negligence of another party, the estate may be compensated for damages. In a products liability case, the other party could be found negligent if it breached its duty to provide adequate warnings about the risks of the product and that breach was at least partly legally responsible for the death.
Source: Legal Examiner, "Tylenol Case Remanded to CA, While Plaintiffs Seek MDL," Eric Chaffin, April 24, 2013