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Illinois Mother Suing Drug Maker over Infant's Death

Posted on Dec 01, 2007

Dimitria Alvarez of Bloomington, Ill., has filed suit against McNeil-PPC Inc., maker of Infant Tylenol Cold Decongestant Plus Cough, and Walgreen Co., retailer of Infant Tylenol drops and Walgreen's Pediatric Drops-Cough Plus Cold.  She claims her infant son, Devon, died in 2001 after he was given Infant Tylenol Drops and Walgreen's Pediatric Drops at the recommendation of the family's pediatrician.

The cause of death was dextromethorphan intoxication. Devon's family says they were told later that Devon's body could not metabolize one of the key ingredients found in many infant cold and cough medicines.

The lawsuit filed in Lake County Circuit Court is one of the first since Federal Drug Administration hearings last month at which health experts testified that parents should not give children younger than 6 such medicines because they don't work and can be harmful.

In August, federal health officials recommended the "consult your physician" advice to parents on the labels of cold and cough medicines aimed at young children be replaced by a warning not to use the medications in children under 2 unless directed to do so by a health care provider.

The lawsuit says that McNeil and Walgreen should have known of the hazards of dextromethorphan, that the two medicines had never been tested for use by infants and that there had been deaths associated with the ingredient.

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