Fentanyl patch caused woman's death, claims suit against Mylan

Kelly Holleran Mar. 11, 2010, 6:00am

A plaintiff in a Madison County lawsuit claims his mother died due to a defectively manufactured fentanyl patch.

Jason Pellazari filed suit March 5 against Mylan.

Pellazari claims a physician gave his mother, Betty J. Pellazari, a prescription for a fentanyl 50 mcg transdermal patch manufactured by Mylan on March 8, 2009. At the time the physician prescribed the medication, Betty J. Pellazari resided in Dover, Tenn., where she lived on a temporary basis, according to the complaint.

The fentanyl patch has the potential to be an extremely dangerous medication as its active ingredient, fentanyl, is at least 80 times stronger than morphine, the suit states. Doctors normally prescribe it to relieve pain, the complaint says.

On March 7, 2009, Betty Pellazari applied the patch in accordance with directions, the suit states.

"In the early morning of March 8, 2009, plaintiff's decedent was found unresponsive and not breathing by her boyfriend," the complaint says. "Plaintiff's decedent's boyfriend called 911, and emergency responders came to her residence and pronounced her dead."

Toxicological tests confirmed that Betty Pellazari had died because of an excessive amount of fentanyl -- the coroner found 3.3 ml more than the toxic amount of fentanyl in her bloodstream, Jason Pellazari claims.

Because of his mother's death, Jason Pellazari lost her love, guidance, care, affection and support, according to the complaint.

He blames Mylan, saying the company failed to provide Betty Pellazari with adequate warnings, failed to use adequate care in designing the patch, failed to inspect the patch, failed to monitor patches it designed and failed to utilize proper materials to avoid administering lethal dosages to patients.

In his eight-count suit, Pellazari seeks a judgment of more than $400,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Robert H. Gregory of The Law Office of Robert H. Gregory in East Alton will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-232.

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