Medical device suppliers hit Philips Respironics with class action lawsuit

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Glenside, PennsylvaniaPhilips is hit by a class action lawsuit again, but this time the medical device makers are joining thousands of consumers who have filed complaints over faulty sleep apnea devices that allegedly caused cancer and respiratory damage . Baird Respiratory Therapy, Inc., filed a class action lawsuit against Philips in March 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, seeking to represent durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers nationwide who purchased recalled Philips respirators.

Here are the events leading up to Baird’s class action lawsuit, according to court documents:

  • Philips has developed, marketed and sold millions of CPAP and BiPAP respirators to EMR vendors including Baird.
  • These providers in turn resell these devices to patients with a markup and partial or full payment by the patient’s insurer, with any shortfall being made up by the end user.
  • At the end of April 2021, Philips revealed in its quarterly report that CPAP and BiPAP respirators posed health risks to its users, according to consumer reports.
  • On June 14, Philips recalled several models of BiPAP, CPAP and mechanical ventilators “to address identified potential health risks associated with the polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) sound-absorbing foam component in these devices”.
  • Philips acknowledged to suppliers that the recalled products were defective and unsafe, and asked them not to resell any device.
  • Philips unreasonably delayed its recall and was aware of PE-PUR foam degradation long before issuing the recall, but continued to manufacture and sell the recalled devices to the plaintiff and other EMR suppliers with such awareness for a significant period of time.
  • During this time, Philips unreasonably and unfairly profited from the sale of the recalled devices.
  • Although Philips recently announced a repair and replacement program for end-user patients, it has not offered any relief or compensation to EMR vendors who have the recalled devices.
  • The medical device supplier seeks reimbursement for the acquisition of its recalled devices, non-defective replacement devices that are currently in its inventory, and all other appropriate damages.

Baird claims that Philips breached its express warranty and misrepresented the potential risks (cancer and other injuries) inherent in the polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam in the machines. Since Philips “unreasonably delayed its recall” while waiting to notify Baird and other suppliers of reports that PE-PUR foam could decompose and endanger users and knowingly allowed its packaging, labels, advertisements, promotional materials and websites intentionally misled Baird and other suppliers about recalled products, Baird and other suppliers lost money when they were unable to resell recalled CPAP and BiPAP devices. The deal is Baird Respiratory Therapy, Inc. v. Phillips2:22-cv-00886.

Baird Respiratory Therapy, a Pennsylvania company with its principal place of business in Glenside, is suing Philips for breach of express warranty, fraudulent misrepresentation, fraud by omission and unjust enrichment. On behalf of itself and a putative nationwide class of durable medical equipment suppliers, the medical device maker is seeking declaratory relief and monetary relief in excess of $5 million.

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