Johnson & Johnson Recalls Duragesic Patch Painkillers Due to Overdose Potential — Illinois Defective Prescription Drug Lawyer

By January 26, 2009Dangerous Drugs

PriCara, a division of Johnson & Johnson, has recalled two lots of Duragesic, a chronic pain medication delivered through the skin using an adhesive patch. According to financial news site RTT News, the patches may have tears in the area containing the active ingredient. This disables their time-release system for dispensing the drug, an opiate called fentanyl, which can lead to an overdose. Like other opiates, fentanyl has potentially fatal effects in an overdose, including breathing problems, seizures and slow heartbeat. Information about the recall is available on Duragesic’s Web site.
This is the second Duragesic patch recall by PriCara within 12 months. The patches were last recalled on Feb. 12, 2008, because of similar problems with tears in the drug’s reservoir. Another recall in 2004 led to at least three successful lawsuits filed by people whose loved ones died because of a Duragesic patch overdose. The FDA has not taken the drug off the market in the United States, but its Canadian equivalent, Health Canada, issued a warning Jan. 7 that patients may need to change their dosage of fentanyl to avoid an overdose.
Because I am a defective prescription drug lawsuit attorney, I know that overdoses are not uncommon with transdermal patches. In my pharmaceutical liability practice, I represent clients who have lost a loved one or had serious medical problems because of defective Ortho Evra patches. Ortho Evra is a form of birth control similar to the Pill, but it delivers about 60% more estrogen than pills, sharply increasing the number of women who developed dangerous blood clots as side effects. Johnson & Johnson has paid at least $68 million to settle Ortho Evra lawsuits, but the patch is still on the market.
A similar delivery malfunction with a potent opiate like fentanyl could easily kill hundreds of people who use Duragesic and other fentanyl patches regularly to manage chronic pain. If it does, and the manufacturing or design of the patch is to blame, Johnson & Johnson could be held legally responsible for the results — physical, financial and emotional. If you or someone you love was seriously hurt by a malfunctioning patch or other prescription drug, Carey, Danis & Lowe can help. We offer free, confidential case evaluations to potential clients. If you believe you may have a claim and you would like to know more, please contact us today for a free consultation.