In order to recover, patients must be treated by several hospital visits. They undergo treatment and invasive surgeries similar to burn victims. “When the rash covers up to 30 percent of the body it is referred to as Stevens Johnson Syndrome but if it spreads beyond that, the condition is then known as Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN)”. Fifteen percent of SJS cases end in fatalities. When it escalates to TEN, the fatality rate jumps to 40 percent of all cases.
The FDA approved Zithromax in 1996. At that time, SJS was not considered a danger. It was not listed under the warning label. Sixteen years later, a warning was finally issued to Pfizer to include SJS on the Zithromax label. In lawsuits, Pfizer has been accused of understating the severity of SJS, while over-marketing the antibiotic to the medical community. “Plaintiffs who have filed a Zithromax SJS lawsuit claim Pfizer failed to fully disclose the health risks while misleading consumers into believing the medication was safe and superior to other antibiotics”. Given the high medical costs of treating SJS and TEN, many have found that lawsuits are the only financial solution.