In June 2021, Philips Respironics recalled millions of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and other respiratory devices after receiving complaints of defects and new or worsened illnesses from consumers. The complaints and legal claims that followed were due to the breakdown of the polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam, which exists to provide a noise-abating layer, in certain models.
The PE-PUR foam degradation in Philips CPAP machines caused some consumers to ingest and even inhale toxic and carcinogenic compounds. This could lead to a range of illnesses, including chemical poisoning, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and liver damage.
By the end of September, 93 proposed class action lawsuits were filed against Philips in response to injuries, risks, and disruptive use of affected CPAP machines. Since then, even more lawsuits have emerged.
Due to the similarity of these claims, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ruled to consolidate 110 federal lawsuits against Philips in multidistrict litigation (MDL).