An Illinois state court jury returned a verdict requiring two units of Johnson & Johnson to pay $16.6 million to the family of a Chicago-area woman who died after using a Duragesic pain-patch. This dealt the company its fourth defeat in as many trials since 2006. Janice DiCosolo, who was only 38 year old, died in February 2004 because the patch she was wearing delivered a fatal dose of the narcotic fentanyl, the device’s main ingredient.
The Duragesic-brand patch is made by Alza Corp., a Mountain View, California, company owned by Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest maker of medical devices. The product was distributed by another Johnson & Johnson unit, Janssen Pharmaceutica. The patches generated $1.16 billion in sales last year for Johnson & Johnson, making them the company’s seventh best-selling product, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The lawsuit was filed by Mrs. DiCosolo’s husband, John. The couple had three children.
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