Medical Equipment Supplier Files Class Action Lawsuit Over Philips CPAP/BiPAP Machines

The supplier accuses the manufacturer of wrongfully delaying a recall of Philips CPAP and BiPAP machines.

A class action lawsuit has been filed by a durable medical equipment supplier over the fall-out from a Philips CPAP/BiPAP Machine recall issued last year, indicating that the manufacturer knowingly distributed dangerous and defective sleep apnea machines that contained a defective sound abatement foam, which has been found to breakdown and release toxic particles directly into the air pathways.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Baird Respiratory Therapy in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, pursuing damages from Koninklijke Philips and its North American subsidiaries as defendants.

The medical equipment supplier joins thousands of consumers directly pursuing a Philips CPAP/BiPAP machine lawsuit over cancers and other respiratory injuries linked to breathing the sound abatement foam particles. However, this class action lawsuit seeks damages on behalf of Baird Respiratory Therapy and other durable medical equipment suppliers nationwide.

According to allegations raised in the equipment supplier class action lawsuit over the Philips CPAP/BiPAP machines, problems with the polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) sound abatement foam inside the machines was known to the manufacturer, but the company continued to distribute products with the defective design, leading Baird Respiratory Therapy and other suppliers to sell dangerous products to their customers.

“Several facts support the assertion that Philips knew of the issue of the degradation of PE-PUR foam well in advance of issuing the recall. First, Philips’ own language admits that the recall was issued in response to ‘several complaints’ it had received regarding black particles and debris in the airways of the Recalled Devices,” the lawsuit states. “Second, posts on message boards and YouTube channels…complained about problems now known to be consistent with the degradation of PE-PUR foam, including black particles in the airways of the Recalled Devices.”

According to an FDA inspection report released late last year, Philips knew about the problem with the degrading sound abatement foam since at least 2015, before Greene’s device was purchased, indicating that emails exchanged with the foam supplier discussed the problem. However, no investigation was initiated or corrective actions were taken until the massive recall was announced in June 2021.

Earlier this month, the FDA officials issued a scathing letter to the manufacturer, warning that the Philips CPAP recall notifications have been inadequate, leaving too many consumers and medical equipment manufacturers unaware of the health risks posed by continuing to use recalled sleep apnea machines with the toxic sound abatement foam.

Baird Respiratory Therapy seeks class action status for the lawsuit, which would include all DME suppliers in the U.S. who purchased recalled breathing assistance devices from Philips before June 14, 2021. The lawsuit seeks to recover damages for negligence, breach of express warranty and fraud.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in Philips sleep apnea machine product liability lawsuits and class action lawsuits filed nationwide, coordinated pretrial proceedings have been established before Senior U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti in the Western District of Pennsylvania, where this latest complaint will also be centralized.

In the coming years, it is expected that Judge Conti will establish a bellwether program where small groups of representative Philips CPAP lawsuits will be prepared for early trial dates, to help gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the claims.

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