A federal jury in Florida recently awarded $5.5 million to the father of a man who died while wearing a drug patch made by two Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries. The jury in Federal District Court in West Palm Beach found that Janssen Pharmaceutica Products and the Alza Corporation, both based in New Jersey, were legally responsible for the death of Adam Hendelson, 28, who died in 2003 while wearing the companies’ Duragesic patch.

The patch delivers controlled doses of the powerful painkiller fentanyl. Mr. Hendelson suffered chronic hip pain after a car accident and wore the patch on his arm. Subsequently, after a time, he was found dead at his computer. Tests showed the victim had at least three times the lethal dose of fentanyl in his system at the time of his death.

This verdict was the first in a federal case against the makers of the patch. Last year, a Houston jury awarded $772,500 to the daughter of a woman who died after wearing the patch. The Food and Drug Administration announced in 2005 that it was investigating 120 deaths among users of patches that emit fentanyl.

Source: Associated Press

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