NEW YORK, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorney Keith Jensen of the Fort Worth, Texas-based law firm of Jensen, Belew & Gonzalez is announcing a $3.78 million settlement with pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) on behalf of the family of a nine-year-old New York girl who died in June 2004 as the result of a drug-induced disease known as Stevens Johnson Syndrome, which caused all of her skin to peel off.
The settlement approval was filed Friday following a hearing before New York State Supreme Court Judge Judith H. Gische.
Jesse Nichols Jacobson died less than a month after receiving the Pfizer-produced drugs Dilantin and Flagyl. Dilantin is an anti-seizure drug and Flagyl is an anti-fungal medication. Shortly after the administration of the drugs, Ms. Jacobson developed a drug-induced condition known as toxic epidermal necrolysis or TEN, which causes a severe rash and leads to the loss of 30 percent to 100 percent of a patient's skin, often followed by infections, blindness or death.
A study compiled by 15 burn centers in the U.S. revealed that more than 20 percent of TEN cases are believed to be caused by Dilantin use, with deaths reported in approximately one of every four cases. Dilantin is one of the most commonly-prescribed anti-seizure drugs in the U.S., and has been marketed by Pfizer and its predecessor companies since 1936.
"In Canada and other countries, Pfizer warns that patients with African ancestry have a higher risk for developing Dilantin Hypersensitivity Syndrome which can include TEN, but Pfizer has not bothered warning doctors and patients in the United States," says Jensen, counsel for the estate and adoptive parents of Ms. Jacobson. "Pfizer's label does not advise clinicians that a drug-company sponsored survey of seizure clinicians concluded that Dilantin should virtually never be used as a first line anti-seizure drug for children. As many as 14 in 10,000 children who take Dilantin will develop Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) or TEN."
"When Pfizer is promoting a blockbuster drug that has an association with SJS/TEN, such as Bextra, Pfizer advocates aggressive monitoring, patient and physician education programs and less use of the drug to reduce the potential for these dreadful diseases. Dilantin may cause more SJS/TEN than any other drug in the world, yet Pfizer has taken no such action regarding it," Jensen says.
"Dr. Margaret Nichols, Ms. Jacobson's adoptive mother, is hopeful Pfizer will begin providing warnings and education about Dilantin directly to doctors and patients in the U.S., just as they do in other nations, particularly since our country has a large population with African ancestry, which is at greater risk for Dilantin Hypersensitivity Syndrome and TEN," Mr. Jensen says.
Jensen, Belew & Gonzalez represents individuals and families in cases involving catastrophic personal injuries, death or financial ruin resulting from the negligence or wrongdoing of drug manufacturers and others. More information about the firm is available at http://www.stevensjohnsonsyndrome.org
For more information on the Jacobsen case or to speak with attorney Keith Jensen, please contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or [email protected].
SOURCE Jensen, Belew & Gonzalez