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Dangerous Drugs & Medical Devices News & Commentary on Prescription Drug & Medical Device Lawsuits

Should Death Be Listed as a Possible Adverse Reaction on the Duragesic Fentanyl Patch Label?

Posted in Duragesic / Fentanyl

I’ve previously posted the deposition of Robert Gale, the lead inventor of the Duragesic Fentanyl patch.  His deposition was taken during a fentanyl lawsuit, and during this particular deposition, his attorney prevented him from answering relevant questions.  Like this one:

Q. As the lead inventor and designer of the patch, don't you agree that death should be listed as a potential adverse event with the use of Duragesic?

MS. BENEDICT: Objection. Foundation. Form. Argumentative. You don't have to answer that.

MR. ORR: You're instructing him not to answer that?

MS. BENEDICT: Yes.

Following this exchange, Mr. Orr explains to Ms. Benedict that her objection is completely invalid.  She wouldn’t budge, presumably because Mr. Gale would have given an answer that her clients wouldn’t like.  It bothers me to see an attorney flagrantly abuse the rules of discovery like this because it drives up the cost in time and money to the plaintiff in this lawsuit.  Of course, that’s standard operating procedure for defendants in Duragesic lawsuits: delay as much as possible to make future Duragesic lawsuits look unattractive.  The lawyer for the plaintiff in this lawsuit had two choices: Either live with Ms. Benedict’s decision not to let Gale answer relevant questions, or file a motion with the court.  Neither is very palatable to the plaintiff in the lawsuit. 

So much of what defendants do in lawsuits like this is play “hide the ball,” hoping to keep relevant information away from the plaintiff.  Assuming that Gale would have answered this question in no way determines whether the jury gets to hear the answer.  Prior to trial, the judge and the attorneys in lawsuits like this go through all of the depositions to redact portions that the jury isn’t permitted to see.  If Gale had answered this question, there are at least three grounds I can think of to have kept his answer away from the jury.  And if I can think of three, I bet the defense firm in this case could have thought of thirty.  At any rate, I’m happy to be able to share Gale’s deposition from this lawsuit. 

Here it is in PDF format.