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Philips Agrees CPAP Machine Recall Lawsuits Should Be Centralized in Federal MDL

  • Written by: Irvin Jackson
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As a growing number of class action lawsuits and individual injury lawsuits continue to be filed on behalf of owners of recalled DreamStation CPAP machines, Bi-PAP machines and mechanical ventilators, which have been found to release toxic particles into the air pathways, Philips indicates it agrees the litigation should be consolidated before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings in the federal court system.

On June 14, Philips Respironics, also known as Koninklijke Philips, issued a massive recall for 3.5 million breathing machines which were distributed with unsafe and defective sound abatement foam that may degrade and release black particles or toxic chemicals directly into the lungs of users who rely on the devices for treatment of sleep apnea and other conditions.

Exposure to the toxic particles and gases released by a polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam inside has been linked to reports of cancer, severe respiratory problems and other health complications, according to allegations raised in a growing number of Philips CPAP recall lawsuits filed over the past few weeks.

On July 7, Thomas R. Starner, a plaintiff who was one of the first to file a lawsuit, filed a motion with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), requesting that his case and all similar complaints filed brought throughout the federal court system be consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of a Philips DreamStation multidistrict litigation (MDL), before U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Savage in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In a response (PDF) issued on July 29, Philips agreed the cases should be centralized, but indicates the litigation should be consolidated in the District of Massachusetts instead.

“Philips agrees that centralization of the Actions and follow-on actions is appropriate because it will promote judicial efficiency and prevent duplicative discovery, as well as serve to enable consistency in pretrial rulings,” the response states. “Philips, however, disagrees that centralization in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is most appropriate. Only one of the 32 cases is pending in that District, and none of the defendants are located there.”

Philips’ North American offices are located in Massachusetts. In addition, 15 of the 32 cases filed nationwide are currently filed in the federal Massachusetts court system, the company noted.

Consolidation is common in complex product liability litigation, where a large number of claims have been presented by former users of the same product, alleging similar injuries. Centralizing the DreamStation CPAP claims would help avoid duplicative discovery, prevent contradictory rulings from different judges, and serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses, and the courts, according to the motion.

Philips CPAP Machine Health Concerns

Due to concerns about the serious health risks, the FDA issued a safety communication on June 30, urging people who use Philips DreamStation, CPAP or BiPAP machines to immediately stop using their device and contact their healthcare providers for a suitable treatment alternative.

Unfortunately, there is likely to be limited availability for other breathing machines, and alternative treatments for sleep apnea or lifestyle changes may not provide immediate relief, leaving many sleep apnea patients concerned about side effects they may experience without the CPAP machine to keep their airway open at night. However, the FDA has indicated that for these users, the risk of continuing to use the machine may exceed the benefits, and owners are being encouraged to immediately contact their doctors for further guidance.

Philips has suggested individuals living in areas with high temperatures or humidity may face an increased risk of the CPAP machine foam degrading, and certain ozone or UV light cleaning products may further accelerate the problems.

The Dutch manufacturer, Koninklijke Philips, N.V. generated over $23 billion in revenue last year, and is expected to face massive liability from lawsuits and CPAP machine settlements over the next few years.

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1 comment

  1. Brian Reply

    To Philips Respironics,

    Due to your greed, dishonesty and profit driven income abilities, you have handed myself along with others in my same position a very likely sentence of further compromised health issues and most likely in the long run a premature death sentence.

    You are a multi million dollar profit corporation.

    After realizing that your product the “Dream Station” was produced and is defective also, has been recalled, you have failed to offer ANY REPLACEMENT OPTIONS other than purchase a new one, an upgraded CPAP at our personal expense.

    For myself and many others like me, we can’t afford to purchase the newest, latest and greatest CPAP machine that will ultimately once again, BOOST YOUR PROFIT MARGINE!

    Knowing very well that there are people out in the public that can’t afford another CPAP machine or the out of pocket expense for a new one also, knowing that Medicare will not purchase another machine for 5 years even if the product is defective and has been recalled due to being defective, what are we the public that supported you originally suppose to due?

    Sleep well with your decision to NOT DO ANYTHING about it or offer a free replacement solution for the people that require a LIFE SUBSTAINING DEVICE.

    A replacement for your defective product should by all rights be at Philips Respironics expense, perhaps out of your multi million dollar profit earnings.

    You got my money once but you will never get my money again!

    In my personal opinion, you are a corrupt corporation.

    All you need to do is make this situation right to the people that believed in you and purchased your product that allowed you to make millions of dollars in profit.

    Perhaps, some of your relatives or loved ones are in the same boat as the general public, how does that make you feel?

    But then again, a lot of profit driven corporations do not have a conscious.

    Do you Philips Respironics?

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