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By: Staff Writers | Published: August 12th, 2010
A fentanyl patch lawsuit has been filed by a West Virginia woman who allegedly went comatose after wearing a generic version of a pain patch manufactured by Mylan Pharmaceuticals, which was defective.
The product liability lawsuit was filed by Glenda Ann Maxewell, of Charleston, last month in Kanawha Circuit Court in West Virginia. According to the complaint, Maxwell filled a prescription for a Mylan fentanyl pain patch on January 28, 2009. Three days later she was found unresponsive and wearing one of the patches. She was in a coma for 12 hours and hospitalized for a week due to a fentanyl overdose. Maxwell claims to have suffered permanent memory loss and has lost her sense of direction as a result of problems with the patch.
The Mylan fentanyl patch is a generic version of the Duragesic patch, which is manufactured by a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The pain patch is prescribed to patients suffering from chronic, severe pain. It is designed to slowly deliver a dose of the powerful painkiller Fentanyl, which is an opioid that is considered 100 times more powerful than heroine. If too much of the medication is delivered or if the fentanyl gel contained in the patch comes in direct contact with the skin, it can cause a fatal fentanyl patch overdose.
Maxwell’s lawsuit claims that the Mylan patch was defective, and she is seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages.
There have been a number of reported problems with fentanyl pain patches due to manufacturing issues since the brand name medication was first introduced by Johnson & Johnson in 1994. At least six different fentanyl patch recalls have been issued by Johnson & Johnson and companies manufacturing generic versions of the patch, raising questions about whether the powerful painkiller can be safely made.
Out of the first four fentanyl patch lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson to go to trial over problems with their Duragesic patch, plaintiffs have been successful in each case, with juries awarding a combined total of more than $36 million in damages.