As of Oct. 5, 2022, the Tylenol autism lawsuit is a mass tort claim attorneys put together for pretrial purposes in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The mass tort alleges defendants failed to warn customers about a possible link between Tylenol use among pregnant women and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their children.

Pretrial consolidation means a single judge rules on all pretrial motions and other matters, like discovery disputes and mediation issues. This process, called multidistrict litigation (MDL), also includes several bellwether trials. These trials let plaintiffs and defendants test their claims and defenses.

After these bellwether trials, since all the issues are rather clear, the MDL matter usually settles out of court. In the unlikely event that doesn’t happen, the individual cases usually return to their home courts for trial.

Fundamentally, the Tylenol autism lawsuit is about forcing companies to take responsibility for their mistakes. In this case, this mistake was producing, marketing and selling a potentially defective drug that may have caused many children to sustain lifelong injuries.

Action Matters answers hard questions and provides information about complex issues. Hence, families know their rights and how a lawyer can enforce them in court.

Who Has Filed the Lawsuit?

In the early stages of the Tylenol autism lawsuit, parents from across the country have already partnered with lawyers and filed legal actions. By the time the claims period closes, more plaintiffs will most likely have joined this legal action.

Like victims in other kinds of injury cases, these plaintiffs filed these claims to obtain compensation for their losses and, more importantly, to hold the defendants responsible for their role in the Tylenol/autism crisis.

The lifetime economic cost of autism could be as high as $3 million per victim, mostly lost productivity at work and future medical expenses. Victims shouldn’t have to pay these losses out of their own pockets.

Moreover, autism involves significant noneconomic losses. Autistic individuals often struggle to form relationships and fit in when attending social events and other functions. Money doesn’t magically cure these issues, but it does make them more bearable.

Furthermore, companies shouldn’t be able to cause injuries and blame someone else, or otherwise not take responsibility for their actions.

What are the Nuts and Bolts of the Tylenol/Autism Lawsuit?

The scientific link between Tylenol and ASD is unclear, mostly because doctors aren’t exactly sure how acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, works. However, according to the latest research, long-term in-utero exposure to acetaminophen increases the risk of autism by about 30%.

Other aspects of the Tylenol/autism lawsuit are much more concrete. For example, about 65% of pregnant women use Tylenol or another over-the-counter medicine that contains acetaminophen. For years, companies strongly marketed Tylenol to pregnant women, claiming it’s a safe alternative to aspirin, ibuprofen and other analgesics.

Additionally, the defendant’s legal duty is clear as well. In most states, companies have a responsibility to warn customers about known product risks. This warning must be:

  • Clear: Safety warnings must be clearly stated and easily visible. Additionally, these warnings must be in language consumers understand as most of them are not familiar with Legalese and Medspeak.
  • Proportionate: Tylenol, like most other drugs, has possible mild and serious side effects. Serious side effects should not be buried in a long list of mild side effects.
  • Uniform: Companies often market the same product to different groups in different ways. For example, vehicle commercials during football games usually differ from ones shown during news shows. However, serious side-effect warnings must be the same for everyone.

Incidentally, Tylenol/autism lawsuit plaintiffs do not need to “prove” that Tylenol causes autism. They must only prove that using Tylenol increases the risk of autism, the defendants knew about that risk, and the defendants didn’t respond appropriately.

Who are the Defendants in the Case?

So far, the defendants in the New York MDL lawsuits are the retailers Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, Safeway, Target and the Walgreens Boots Alliance (an American-British-Swiss partnership which in the United States is simply called Walgreens).

These Tylenol autism lawsuits allege that the defendants knew about the elevated risk and didn’t properly warn customers. The pharmacists, pharmacy techs and other employees at these stores frequently encouraged pregnant women to take as much acetaminophen as they felt was necessary.

As lawsuits continue to pour in, the plaintiffs will probably add additional defendants. The two most likely ones are doctors and Tylenol’s manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson.

Doctors, like the retail workers named in the suit, often told pregnant women to take Tylenol and related products to ease pregnancy-related discomfort, like pain, trouble sleeping, and digestive issues.

Doctors, who are medical insiders, should have known about Tylenol’s possible serious side effects. As medical professionals, physicians must do what’s in the best interests of their patients.

Johnson & Johnson could be legally responsible for damages under the failure to warn theory outlined above. In addition, the company could also be responsible for selling a defective product.

More defendants give plaintiffs more legal options. But, unfortunately, more defendants also mean more legal complexities.

For example, many states have laws making it difficult for victims to bring medical malpractice lawsuits and obtain fair compensation. Additionally, many states have a statute of repose that protects manufacturers from product defect claims. Because of these and other issues, only a lawyer can clearly lay out families” legal options.

Can I Qualify as a Plaintiff in the Tylenol Autism Lawsuit?

Parents, their adult children, or both may be eligible to join the lawsuit if the mother used a name-brand or generic product that contained acetaminophen during pregnancy, the products didn’t have an adequate warning, and the child was diagnosed with autism.

These are just the basic rules. The Action Matters team gives victims information about their legal options. But no online article can substitute for a confidential and thorough consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.

As mentioned, the lifelong costs of autism could be in the millions of dollars. Victims shouldn’t have to pay these costs out of pocket and shouldn’t have to suffer in silence. Since there is so much at stake, we encourage you to contact us for more information and then take the next step and partner with an attorney.