Since the fentanyl pain patch was released to the U.S. market, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of the product. The allegations include claims that fentanyl patches are defective, product warning labels fail to adequately warn patients of its potential dangers, and healthcare professionals have failed to properly use and prescribe the medication.
Fentanyl Pain Patch Recall Update 7/23/12: Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is now recalling more than 53,000 Duragesic pain patches due to problems where crystals of fentanyl may have formed in some of the patches. Fentanyl is a potent painkiller approximately 100 times more powerful than morphine, and its accumulation into crystals in the patch has the potential to lead to overdoses and other adverse events.
What’s the problem?
Below is a list of fentanyl lawsuits that have led to favorable settlements and verdicts:
- In December 2008, a Chicago jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for the death of a 38-year-old Illinois woman who died while wearing a Duragesic fentanyl patch. The jury awarded $16,560,000 to the family of the victim.
- In October 2008, a Florida jury awarded $13.3 million to the family of a 34-year-old mother of five who died as the result of a fentanyl overdose, finding that Johnson & Johnson – along with its subsidiaries and a physician’s assistant – were responsible for the death.
- In June 2007, the family of a 28-year-old Florida man who died while wearing a Duragesic fentanyl patch was awarded a $5.5 million jury verdict in their case against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries.The jury found that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries were negligent in the production of the pain patches, leading to use of defective patches, and that the companies failed to adequately advise consumers of the potential dangers of the patch.
- In July 2006, a Texas jury found J&J responsible for the death of a 42-year-old woman who died of a fentanyl overdose, awarding $772,500 in damages to her family. The victim’s family filed the lawsuit alleging that Duragesic fentanyl pain patches had a manufacturing defect that allowed the powerful fentanyl drug to leak in an uncontrolled manner. Medical reports showed that the victim had 10 times the recommend dose of fentanyl in her system when she died.