LOS ANGELES, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Attorneys from
Dallas’ Heygood, Orr & Pearson are
announcing a Los Angeles Superior Court ruling that will require
executives from Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc.
WPI) and its subsidiary companies to testify under oath and
produce key documents as part of a lawsuit over the death of a
37-year-old woman who died while using the company’s fentanyl
Heygood represents the parents of Nicole Bristol, who died on
Feb. 9, 2008, hours after applying a fentanyl patch manufactured by
Corona, Calif.-based Watson. Fentanyl is a powerful narcotic
painkiller that is often applied by a time-released adhesive patch.
The drug is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine and often
prescribed for chronic pain.
In the Los Angeles lawsuit, Monika Standing, et al. v. Watson
Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., No. BC-405990, Ms. Bristol’s
parents say their daughter suffered a lethal overdose as a result
of a defective Watson fentanyl patch. Although the package insert
in Ms. Bristol’s prescription said she should have received 1.7
ng/ml of fentanyl, autopsy results showed that she died with
15ng/ml of fentanyl in her system. Fentanyl has been found to be
lethal at a blood level of 3 ng/ml, with an average lethal
concentration of 8 ng/ml.
The lawsuit says Watson officials used a faulty and unsafe
“reservoir” design that is subject to manufacturing errors and can
allow lethal amounts of the drug to leak onto a patient’s skin.
Although many competing companies utilize a “matrix” design that
makes leaks impossible, Watson continues to use the “reservoir”
design despite several recalls of Watson fentanyl patches and
numerous lawsuits over related deaths around the count