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Clark Love & Hutson

The Nationally Recognized Plaintiffs Litigation
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The Nationally Recognized Plaintiffs Litigation Law Firm

Philips agrees to pay more than $1 billion in CPAP defect case

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Defective Product Litigation |

Medical technology has made huge advances in recent decades, and medical devices have saved and improved the lives of countless people. But, when a medical device is defective, it can lead to serious injury.

Defective CPAP machines

In a huge settlement offer, the medical device maker Philips has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle claims from people who claim they were injured by the company’s defective CPAP machines. This amount is in addition to a $613 million settlement in a related case.

Tens of millions of Americans, including President Joe Biden, use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices while they sleep in order to treat sleep apnea, a disorder which causes them to get insufficient oxygen and wakes them during the night.

Philips and its subsidiary Philips Respironics sold millions of CPAP devices between 2008 and 2021 that were found to be defective. Investigators found the company’s DreamStation and similar devices contained polyurethane foam that could break down, sending toxic chemicals or even pieces of foam into the user’s airway.

The FDA said it had documented more than 115,000 reports of injury and 561 deaths related to the devices.

The company has now recalled 15 million of the devices worldwide. It is currently making similar devices that use silicon-based materials instead of polyurethane.

Compensation after an injury

Under the legal principle of product liability, companies can be held liable for the damages of consumers who are injured by their defective products. This principle can apply to all kinds of products, from toys to auto parts. It can be especially important in cases involving defective drugs and medical devices because these have the potential to seriously injure patients. These serious injuries can require expensive treatment and completely upend a patient’s life.

When injured patients take legal action against a medical device maker to demand compensation for their damages, they have a difficult path. The corporations that manufacture and market these devices have great resources at their disposal, and they can use these resources to fight off or delay any lawsuits. This is one reason it’s common for injured parties to join their claims together into one large-scale case known as a class action.