CHARLESTON – The administrator of a deceased man's estate has filed suit against a major drug manufacturer, alleging he died after he was exposed to a lethal amount of fentanyl through a prescribed pain patch.

Lynn Woodcock, personal representative of the estate of Thomas L. Woodcock, says Thomas Woodcock was given a prescription by his doctor, James Dixon, for 75 mcg patches.

The patch, also known as the Duragesic patch, contains the drug fentanyl, which is used to relieve pain, according to the federal complaint filed May 8.

"Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous drug that is at least 80 times stronger than morphine," the complaint says.

Patients apply the patch themselves, and it is supposed to release a certain amount of fentanyl at a certain rate through the patient's skin, the suit states.

However, Lynn Woodcock claims the patch released too much fentanyl into Thomas L. Woodcock's body, causing him to die on May 10, 2007 – only two days after he had filled the prescription.

"The defendant had a lethal fentanyl blood concentration at the time of his death," the complaint says.

Because of Thomas L. Woodcock's death, his family has suffered sorrow, mental anguish and solace and incurred medical and funeral costs, the suit states.

According to the complaint, Mylan failed to warn of risks associated with the patch and could have used a safer design that was technologically feasible at the time the patch was manufactured.

Causes of action include strict product liability, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, breach of implied warranty of fitness, breach of implied warranty of merchantability and wanton, willful or reckless conduct.

Lynn Woodcock is seeking unspecified punitive and exemplary damages, actual damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief to which she may be entitled.

She will be represented by Kathryn R. Bayless of The Bayless Law Firm in Princeton. Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr Jr., Eric D. Pearson and Charles W. Miller of Heygood, Orr, Reyes and Bartolomei in Dallas will serve of counsel.

U.S. District Court case number: 2:09-0507

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