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The Food and Drug Administration issued a Public Health Advisory regarding the safe use of fentanyl pain patches, such as Duragesic, citing reports of deaths in patients using the fentanyl patch. Problems with leaky fentanyl patches lead Janssen Pharmaceutical Products to recall certain shipments of the Duragesic fentanyl pain patch. Some personal injury attorneys have assserted that these fentanyl patches should be recalled from the US market, citing the safer and more effective alternative pain medications. Our personal injury lawyers have accepted fentanyl patch cases involving overdose or death under highly unusual circumstances–such as a sudden wrongful death where the fentanyl drug be linked to overdose or death. Fentanyl is one of the most powerful opioid analgesics with a potency approximately 81 times that of morphine.

A number of fatal fentanyl overdoses have been directly tied to the drug over the past several years. In particular, several drug manufacturers of time-release fentanyl patches have already seen sued over allegations of defective product claims as well as other claims. One of several claims is that a malfunction of the patches caused an overdose of fentanyl gel to leak and to be absorbed by patients, resulting in life-threatening side effects and even death. Manufacturers of fentanyl transdermal pain patches have voluntarily recalled numerous lots of their patches and the FDA has issued Public Health Advisories related to the fentanyl patch dangers. Manufacturers affected include Janssen Pharmaceutica Products, L.P.; Alza Corporation; Actavis South Atlantic, LLC; Sandoz; Cephalon, Inc. and Mylan.

My injuryboard colleagues have also sounded the alarm in articles entitled: FDA Issues Second Warning About Fentanyl Skin Patch and in FDA Warns About Fentanyl Again.

While these pain patches have therapeutic benefits, the injuries, overdoses and deaths associated with this medication are mounting and alarming.

My take:

The civil justice system is often the best truth finding method to determine if a drug or medication’s side effects or harms simply outweigh the benefits, or, whether a powerful drug such as fentanyl may be used only in a hospital setting for example. At 81 times the potency of morphine, we are talking about a very dangerous drug indeed.

Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm is based in Virginia practicing primarily in the southeastern U.S. and handles only injury law, including dangerous drugs, car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases. The firm’s website is: , and the firm edits two injury law blogs: Virginia Beach Injuryboard & Norfolk Injuryboard.

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