What is Acetaminophen?

Acetaminophen is a very popular medication often used to alleviate pain or reduce fever.  Some studies, however, have linked the use of acetaminophen products (also referred to as “APAP”) by women during pregnancy to an increased risk of their children developing attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Even now, scientists acknowledge that they do not understand how APAP works to relieve pain and reduce fever and yet it is one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States, with more than 25 billion doses being used annually. APAP has been linked to acute liver injury and liver and according to the motion to transfer filed by a number of plaintiffs:

Despite the drug’s unknown mechanism of action, APAP has long been marketed to pregnant women as the safest pain reliever and fever-reducing drug for use during    pregnancy. Indeed, it has been marketed as the only over-the-counter pain relief drug on the market appropriate for use during pregnancy.

What are The Major Injuries?

Studies conducted over several years have raised concerns about a link between the use of acetaminophen products by pregnant women and the development of childhood ASD or ADHD. This research includes a 2019 study by the National Institutes of Health published in JAMA Psychiatry that suggested a link between exposure to acetaminophen in the womb and an increase in a child’s risk of developing ASD or ADHD.  The study also cites earlier studies that found the same results, concluding these findings warranted additional research.

Who Are The Defendants?

Lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson, manufacturer of Tylenol, and several other acetaminophen retailers, including Costco, CVS, Walmart, Safeway, Rite Aid and Walgreen’s by plaintiffs who allege that the defendants “failed to warn plaintiffs that prenatal use of the defendants’ acetaminophen products could result in plaintiffs’ ASD and/or ADHD”.

Where Are The Cases Filed?

In October, 2022, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) cases were consolidated into MDL 3043- In Re: Acetaminophen-ASD-ADHD Products Liability Litigation before District Judge Denise Cote of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.