The New Hampshire-based Company SoClean Claims Philips Wrongly Implicated Its Cleaning Products
Written by: Lauren Schwab, Legal Assistant
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.
According to this October 13, 2021, Boston Globe article, "N.H. cleaning products frim files suit against Philips", SoClean Inc., a cleaning products company that provides ozone cleaners for CPAP and BiPAP machines, has filed a lawsuit against medical device maker Philips:
SoClean Inc. on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in US District Court in Boston demanding $200 million in damages, saying Philips wrongly implicated its products for the problems that prompted Philips in June to issue the massive recall of devices commonly known as CPAP and BiPAP machines.
“Philips’s false and misleading statements” regarding SoClean products “have had a devastating impact on SoClean,” the lawsuit says. “SoClean’s sales have plummeted, its brand reputation has been tarnished, and the company has lost an enormous amount of goodwill.”
The lawsuit comes following Philips's recall of nearly 2 million machines after the discovery that a foam sound abatement component on the machines was thought to have the potential to break down over time, leading to the inhalation of foam particles.
Since the recall, Philips' CEO and chairman Frans van Houten has recommended its people discontinue the use of ozone-related cleaning products with Philips CPAP and BiPAP machines:
In a Q&A published on its website after the recall, Philips wrote that it recommends that patients “halt use of ozone-related cleaning products,” the complaint says.
Philips also told consumers “the foam degradation may be exacerbated by the use of unapproved cleaning methods, such as ozone,” the complaint says.
And in an earnings call in July, van Houten said of ozone cleaners, “It’s a very aggressive cleaning method that should not be used on medical devices at all,” the complaint says.
SoClean's lawsuit filed against Philips rejects the notion its products may be to blame for the breakdown of the foam component in the Philips breathing machines and places the blame solely on Philips:
The SoClean complaint says the real reason that foam is breaking down in some CPAP machines is a faulty design by Philips. “Simply put, the safety concerns that led to the recall arose because of Philips’s poor choice of foam,” the complaint says.
The complaint also says the cleaning instructions provided by Philips “are wholly inadequate to disinfect the entire machine. A superficial cleaning with soap and warm water is not sufficient.”
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Philips is also currently facing lawsuits on behalf of the users of its machines, stating Philips failed to disclose the defect in a timely manner. Numerous class-action lawsuits have been filed based on consumer fraud allegations, while some individual lawsuits for people have been filed for their personal injury claims. To date, Philips has reported receiving a "limited number" of reports of adverse events related to its machines.
Philips has acknowledged the potential impact that inhalation of the foam sound abatement component may have on patients:
After an investigation, the company has said, it determined that patients exposed to the degradation of the foam risk serious consequences, including “asthma, adverse effects on other organs (e.g., kidney and liver) and toxic carcinogenic effects.”
Philips has said it first discovered the breakdown of the foam and its risks to patients through its own quality management system.
Philips has pledged to repair or replace the affected CPAP machines. In a statement released Wednesday, a company spokesman said completion of that task may take a year or more.
Philips has implemented a patient awareness initiative and is working closely with providers to contact CPAP users, as Philips does not have the complete contact information to communicate directly with CPAP users.
If you or someone you know used one of the recalled Philips Bi-Level PAP, Philips CPAP, or Philips Mechanical Ventilator devices and, in turn, developed cancer or experienced organ failure, we are providing free case evaluations for possible lawsuits against Philips. You can use our online Philips Breathing Devices Case Evaluation Form or, if you prefer, call us on our toll-free number, 800-426-9535.
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