ALZA and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals are the primary defendants in many Duragesic lawsuits. ALZA invented the Duragesic Fentanyl patch, and they later were purchased by Ortho-McNeil-Janssen. In one of these fentanyl patch lawsuits, the plaintiff’s attorney obtained numerous autopsy reports of people who died due to fentanyl toxicity. The attorney then showed those reports to the forensic pathologist and toxicologist in this case. ALZA and OMJ want to see those autopsy reports, but the plaintiff’s attorney doesn’t want to give them to the defendants for several reasons, including the fact that the attorney paid a lot of money to buy these reports.
Supposedly, there are “thousands” of autopsy reports. This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it’s interesting to see the plaintiff fight not to turn them over, since it’s usually a defendant who doesn’t want to turn over information. But more importantly, I wonder if there really have been thousands of deaths due to fentanyl and Duragesic patches. I’ve only heard a ballpark estimate that 100 Duragesic lawsuits have been filed. If there really are thousands of people who died from using the Duragesic patch, there should be at least several hundred lawsuits. Of course, ALZA and OMJ would likely disagree with me on that.