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Mellssa Young

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TEL.# 1-703 2431999







Subject: Tylenol

Dear Reader,


Hundreds of lawsuits filed against the maker of Tylenol threatened to expose the true story of this drug once and for all.


That would have happened through things such as confidential memos, expert reports, and documents that the company, McNeil Consumer Healthcare (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) wanted to keep hidden from view forever. Many people had hoped that this information would finally reveal the deadly secrets of a drug that millions take without thinking twice.


But while some bits and pieces have leaked out, the company just took a big step to lock these skeletons back in their closet.



Still killing after all these years



At the beginning of February, McNeil made a clean sweep by settling hundreds of lawsuits against the company over its flagship drug Tylenol.


And these weren't frivolous actions filed to make a quick buck, either. Each one represented a life changed forever -- or, in many cases, lost -- after taking Tylenol.


But before the company locked these cases away by settling them all confidentially, we got to hear some of the stories behind them.


One, which was said to be the "scene-setter" if it had ever gone to trial, was filed by the sister of an Alabama teacher Denice Hayes, who died seven years ago at the age of 51 from acute liver failure. Her family said the Tylenol that Hayes took was directly responsible for her death.


In fact, each name in the court documents -- many with "DECEASED" in capital letters after them -- tells its own heartbreaking story.


Kiyana Lemon took Extra Strength Tylenol, her mom said, according to the directions. Yet, somehow, the girl ended up having to undergo a liver transplant at the age of 14 due to "drug-induced liver injury."


And she passed away four years later.


But McNeil, which introduced Tylenol over 60 years ago, should know more about the drug and its effects than any other company.


In fact, the drug's name "acetaminophen" was coined by the company's former chairman, Robert McNeil, Jr. So, you can be sure that the families behind these cases were anxious to see what McNeil has known all these years about the drug -- but hasn't been telling us.


Some of the details that came out in early court documents revealed that over 40 years ago the company had done "confidential / proprietary research" that went by the code names Project Protect and Project PAPA to find ways to "improve Tylenol."


Experts were going to testify how, at the time, McNeil was looking to make "chemical changes" to Tylenol that would prevent the drug from harming the liver. But in the end, no such changes were ever made.


But one of the most important facts that would have come out of all this -- had McNeil not settled and allowed the cases to go to court -- was expert testimony as to how narrow the "therapeutic-to-toxic window" is for acetaminophen.


That means it's very easy to cross a thin line between stopping a headache, toothache or back pain and destroying your liver.


Of course, you can see why the company fought so hard to keep these details private. While the settlements managed to sweep these -- and, I'm sure, many more -- facts about Tylenol under the carpet, it didn't make them go away entirely.


The fact remains that acetaminophen is still as dangerous as it's ever been. The drug still sends 78,000 people to the ER every year, and it's still killing some of them. (Thousands have already died.).


Acetaminophen is well recognized as the number one cause of acute liver failure in the United States. Plus that, it's "bundled" into hundreds of medications that, unless you carefully look at the labels, you could take not knowing that you're double- or even triple-dipping on this drug.


The real truth about acetaminophen may never be revealed, but there's still a tried-and-true way to protect yourself and those you love from it.


And that's to stay far away from acetaminophen and every single medication that contains it.


To Keeping Your Liver Safe,


Melissa Young