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Duragesic twenty-five (25) microgram pain patches, made by Johnson & Johnson’s Alza Corp., are being recalled due to manufacturing defects that could lead to leaks of the powerful painkiller fentanyl, a drug stronger than morphine commonly used to treat cancer pain. Such a leak could expose consumers directly to the painkiller’s fentanyl gel that in turn would potentially create a fatal overdose of the painkiller. The patches are Johnson & Johnson’s eighth top-selling product, generating $1.16 billion last year. The Food and Drug Administration issued an alert in 2005 after one hundred and twenty patients, who were taking the drug, died. Juries have found two users of the patch have died directly due to the defective patches since the lawsuits for the product began in 2006.

The patches in question release twenty-five micrograms of fentanyl an hour and have an expiration date on or before December 2009. This recalls is the fifth, since 1994, of a version of the Duragesic patch.

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