A U.S. federal judge has ruled that Philips, a Netherlands-based multinational conglomerate, must face more than 100 lawsuits over its recalled continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine for sleep apnea.
Insurance Journal reported that the consolidation of the lawsuits was announced on Oct. 8 and will be presided over by U.S. District Court Judge Joy Conti in Pittsburgh. The location was chosen because Philips maintains a manufacturing plant in nearby Murrysville, PA.
Philips' CPAP machine was recalled in June, which removed more than three million sleep apnea devices from the market sold before April 2021 over concerns that users could be exposed to polyester foam. The foam is used as a material in the ventilator sleep-aid machine in order to reduce noise.
Researchers have linked the ingestion of foam to “some cancers and other illnesses,” Insurance Journal reported.
Sold under the DreamStation brand, Philips’ sleep apnea devices were designed to improve sleep quality in users who experience intermittent breathing difficulties while sleeping. Poor sleep quality linked to sleep apnea can cause fatigue as well as long-term health complications.
Considering that millions of the devices have been sold, plaintiffs’ attorneys predict that the class will include thousands of additional members in the months to come. The litigation will likely center around the fact that Philips chose to use a potentially carcinogenic material in the sleep apnea device.
Plaintiffs will also likely seek compensation for future medical monitoring.
The foam in the recalled units allegedly degraded over time and dislodged directly in users’ airways. The recalled units were also allegedly capable of outgassing two toxic byproducts.
Philips is accused of failing to fix the design flaw. The recall did not affect Philips’ DreamStation 2 CPAP device.