Philips to Compensate Users with At Least $479 Million for Recalled CPAP Devices
Philips Respironics, the manufacturer of CPAP sleep apnea machines, has agreed to a settlement of at least $479 million in response to allegations of health risks associated with toxic sound-reducing foam, as announced by the plaintiff's lawyers on Thursday.
The settlement will benefit users who purchased or rented the recalled devices and those who incurred out-of-pocket expenses or had to reimburse users for such costs, according to the lawyers.
"We have structured this settlement to quickly deliver value to eligible patients in the US and provide an additional measure of confidence in the safety and quality of Philips Respironics products," stated a spokesperson for Philips Respironics in an email to CNN. Philips did not admit to any wrongdoing as part of the agreement.
In 2021, Philips recalled approximately 10.8 million devices, citing concerns that the silicone-based foam used to reduce sound and vibration could degrade and be inhaled by users.
"While there have been limited reports of headache, upper airway irritation, cough, chest pressure, and sinus infection," Philips stated in 2021, "it may be possible that these potential health risks could result in a wide range of potential patient impact, from transient potential injuries, symptoms, and complications to possibly serious injuries that can be life-threatening or cause permanent impairment."
Since April 2021, the FDA received reports alleging at least 385 deaths associated with the deteriorating foam, with 40 of those reports occurring in the first three months of 2023. Philips Respironics stated that it has completed risk assessments for approximately 95% of the recalled devices since 2021, and the results indicate that potential exposure to foam particles or emissions "is unlikely to result in appreciable harm to health."
Lawyers noted that the $479 million amount will increase as more devices are returned.
Under the settlement, Philips will provide awards to users for each recalled device, with amounts ranging from $55.63 to $1,552.25. Users will also receive a device return award of $100 for each recalled device returned to the company to cover the cost of a new machine.
Philips reserved 575 million euros, approximately $615 million, in the first quarter of 2023 to cover the estimated costs, according to the company. However, this is just one facet of the claims faced by the company. Claims related to personal injury and medical monitoring costs are not part of the settlement, although the lawyers stated in the announcement that they will continue to pursue those claims.
The agreement is subject to approval by Judge Joy Flowers Conti in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.