A $13 million verdict was returned recently in Florida for the family of a woman who died from an overdose of pain killers delivered by a pain patch made by Janssen Pharmaceutical Products and Alza, subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson. The company knew the manufacturing defects caused the production of flawed patches, yet it sold the devices anyway. The victim was a 34-year-old mother of five who died from an overdose of Fentanyl, a pain killer more powerful than morphine that is delivered by the patches.
The patches generated $1.6 billion in global sales last year ranking seventh on Johnson & Johnson’s list of best selling products. The jury also concluded that the death in this case was tied to bad advice the woman got from a physician’s assistant whom she called the night before she died, complaining of nausea and vomiting. Evidence in the case revealed the assistant told her to take anti-nausea medicine rather than to go to the emergency room.
The jurors concluded that Johnson & Johnson was 80% responsible for her death while the doctor’s assistant was 20% liable for mishandling her call. Johnson & Johnson’s officials said in an August 2008 filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission that Janssen and Alza still face sixty lawsuits over the Duragesic patches. Joe Taraska, an Orlando, Florida lawyer, represented the victim’s family and did a very good job. If you want more information on Fentanyl contact Frank Woodson in our firm at 800-898-2034 or e-mail at Frank.Woodson@beasleyallen.com.
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