Another major multi-million dollar verdict (November 17, 2008) against fentanyl patch distributors, this one out of Illinois for fentanyl patch "defect" causing an overdose death.
I have been studying reports from the Food and Drug Administration as well as the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) and I am led to the opinion that prescriptions of fentanyl patches, especially at the higher dosage patch, are the equivalent of a lethal weapon of drug overdose death. Based on reports from all over the United States of overdoses, sudden deaths occur especially when duragesic/fentanyl is prescribed to non-chronic pain patients or those not already treated with very strong narcotic medications, proved by many overdoses occurring in cases of lawful prescription of these patches. The problems with fentanyl patches stem from the fact that fentanyl, the medication, is more than 80 times more powerful than morphine drop for drop. When fentanyl patches are prescribed for patients, especially in the higher dose patch levels, the patch becomes a lethal weapon that can easily kill an unsuspecting victim. The overdoses are destroying families.
Guess what? The pharmaceutical companies that have convinced doctors nationwide to prescribe these lethal weapons, are making hundreds of millions of dollars on this burgeoning new area of growth, but the overdose deaths are spiraling out of control nationwide.
Check out the videos which talk about the dangers of fentanyl patches by clicking on this link-see the fentanyl patch video warning.
As noted above, an Illinois jury returned a 16 million dollar verdict against two companies selling fentanyl patches, finding that a "defect" in the product caused a lethal overdose to the 38 year old mother of three. One of the "defects" is that these patches are being prescribed for use by patients outside the hospital at all!They are so lethal they should only be used as a last resort for totally chronic pain patients, and carefully prescribed even then.
See my prior posts on this topic.
Our law firm is now investigating and accepting cases involving overdose deaths where fentanyl was prescribed to a patient who is not within the prescribing criteria for this apparently lethal weapon.
My take: the "courtroom" of public opinion about fentanyl patches is going very badly for the drug companies peddling these patches, and I predict that the jury system will assure that this dangerous patch medication, in any high dosages, will either be pulled from prescription, or only used in rare cases. It will take a continuous string of jury verdicts or FDA action, whichever comes first.