Recall announcement spurs significant CPAP litigation ad push

Nov 18, 2021

Recall announcement spurs significant CPAP litigation ad push

Following the Food and Drug Administration announcement of a recall of some CPAP and BiPAP machines at the end of June, advertising targeting the devices skyrocketed from just 2 ads that month to over 15,000 airing since then.

Number of CPAP Litigation TV Ads,

Jun-Oct 2021

The June 30 FDA alert warned of potential health risks caused by possible toxins and particles released by the foam within Philips Respironics ventilators, BiPAP, and CPAP machines used to treat sleep apnea.

Amsterdam-based Koninkelijke (Royal) Philips voluntarily recalled the devices in June, two months after it publicly warned of “possible risks to users related to the sound abatement foam” in a long list of “first-generation” sleep-apnea and respiration aids.

Law firms, lead generators, and other mass tort advertisers seized on this announcement to initiate a blitz of TV ads seeking potential plaintiffs injured by these devices airing nationally and in 80 media markets across the country. 

The over 15,000 TV ads seeking CPAP machine claims have positioned CPAP as the second-most targeted medical device across all mass tort TV advertising.

As a sign of further litigation trouble and likely more advertising to come, The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the FDA warned that the replacement machines that Philips has been producing since September may be harmful, too. 

The FDA didn’t order a recall of some 250,000 replacement devices Philips has sent to users, but said it was concerned that a silicone-based foam used in the substitute devices could emit harmful gases.

The FDA report detailed findings suggesting that the company had for years taken inadequate action in response to complaints relating to foam degradation. Philips’s share fell sharply on the Monday after the FDA’s Friday report.

The most widely-aired television ad soliciting CPAP Machine claims from June through October 2021 with over 8,200 airings at an estimated cost of over $360,000.

 Mass tort advertisers have also initiated campaigns seeking potential CPAP lawsuits online with ads, posts, and websites.

Sample Facebook & Google Ads, 2021

The onslaught of advertising appears to be resonating with the public as reflected in the more than ten-fold increase in the number of Google searches for “CPAP lawsuit” since June.

Number of Google Searches for “CPAP Lawsuit,”

Jun-Sep 2021

A few weeks prior to the recall announcement, Phillips announced that an estimated 3.5 million CPAP, BiPAP and ventilator breathing machines were distributed with unsafe and defective sound abatement foam. The company generated over $23 million in revenue last year from the devices.

Following the filing of over 110 federal lawsuits against CPAP-manufacturer Philips, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ordered the consolidation of the cases into multidistrict litigation at its September 30 conference and sent the cases to a Pittsburgh federal court.

One plaintiffs’ law firm estimates that potential settlement amounts for the most serious injuries as a result of use of the CPAP machines could reach $150,000 per case.

Philips said it had determined that the polyester-based polyurethane foam in 11 models manufactured before April 2021 could degrade under certain circumstances, releasing toxic fumes and small particles that might be inhaled through the devices. The company estimated that 3 million to 4 million machines are in use, with about half in the United States.