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Illinois-Based Corporation Hospira Under Fire after Distributing Dangerous Morphine Injections

Quite literally, it’s a deadly mistake.

Opioid pain medications such as morphine have life-threatening consequences if overdosed; according to a report issued earlier this month by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Hospira, a global pharmaceutical and medical device company, is recalling a lot of a morphine sulfate injection because the pre-packaged shot contains more of the drug than the intended labeled volume.

Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication, which, when administered properly by healthcare professionals acts expediently to relieve severe pain and suffering. Like other opioids, morphine directly affects the central nervous system to relieve pain; though this makes it an effective drug, it also makes it extremely dangerous.

An overdose of morphine has the potential to cause asphyxia and ultimately death, if a person does not receive immediate medical attention. Although the accidental increased amount in the recalled vials is not enough to otherwise be considered a lethal dose, there have been known cases of morphine hypersensitivity in which significantly smaller overages of the drug have caused sudden death.

Illinois product liability law is an area of personal injury law that focuses on dangerous and defective products; it is the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and others who manufacture and disseminate goods to the public are held responsible for the injuries caused by those products. “Products” in this instance covers a wide range of categories, including medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

As it pertains to this case, Illinois products liability law dictates that when corporations manufacture a product, especially in cases of pharmaceutical production, those companies have a responsibility to ensure the product’s safety before the product is put on the market and sold to consumers. This is especially true for companies that produce medicine, and whose products must undergo extensive testing before they are distributed to consumers. When a company makes a product that is flawed and that product harms the person using the product, the company may be held legally responsible for the customer’s injuries.

In this particular instance, Hospira had a duty to ensure that their drugs were packaged properly and contained the proper dosage amount. If a consumer suffers as a result of a morphine overdose, Hospira may be made to pay a wide variety of damages, including such things as medical and hospital expenses, and potentially even damages resulting from wrongful death.

Hospira is the world’s largest producer of generic injectable pharmaceuticals – such as the recalled product in this case – and is headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois. Hospira reported worldwide sales for 2011 as just over $4.1 billion, and products manufactured by Hospira are used in clinics and hospitals around the world. The affected lot of morphine injections was distributed earlier this year to a number of hospitals in several states, including Illinois.

Illinois personal injury cases that arise as result of dangerous or defective pharmaceuticals have the potential to be severe and life-altering. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers represent victims across Illinois in matters against companies that have sold or manufactured unsafe products to consumers. In fact, our attorneys brought a case against Orion Research Inc. and Baxter Health Care Corporation for a flawed test for the genetic disease cystic fibrosis. The failures of the test led a set of parents to have a second cystic child. While recovering a substantial settlement for the family, the firm and the family were more concerned with the discontinuation of the test. As a result of our efforts, the test was eliminated.

If you or a loved one have experienced problems that may be related to using Hospira’s morphine injection, seek medical attention immediately. In addition, an attorney may be able to apprise you of your rights under the law.