Thousands of sleep apnoea sufferers must have their Philips sleep and respiratory devices immediately refunded or replaced after safety concerns led to a global recall, lawyers at Slater and Gordon say.
Philips recently issued a world-wide recall for a range of their sleep apnoea machines after finding the polyurethane foam within the machine had the potential to degrade and cause the consumer to inhale and ingest its particles, which is feared may cause cancer.
Much uncertainty still surrounds the recall in Australia and the expected timeframes of when people can expect to either have these machines replaced or refunded.
Slater and Gordon Associate William Zerno said: “These are not discretionary items. For many people these are life-saving devices designed to reduce the risk of stroke or other serious medical conditions arising from sleep apnoea.”
“Until Philips provides details about the recall many people are being left with the impossible choice of either using the machines – despite the risk which led to the recall – or stopping use until a replacement is provided, running the risk of developing significant medical problems in the meantime,” Mr Zerno said.
The recall relates to a range of CPAP, BiPAP or mechanical ventilator machines. The health risks associated with exposure to the degraded foam included skin, eye, and respiratory tract irritation, inflammatory response, headache and asthma. Risks also included adverse effects to other organs including the kidneys and liver, as well as toxic and carcinogenic effects.
“There are now many thousands of frightened users who say they have no choice but to continue using the machine as they are terrified of what might happen if they slept without it. This is despite being frightened they are inhaling potentially toxic chemicals. They feel stuck,” Mr Zerno said.
“We are extremely concerned for the people affected by this recall, who are being left with great uncertainty about whether to keep using the machine or not, about whether they should buy a new machine, and are unclear what Philips is going to do next for them.
“People who have contacted us are distressed about the health implications, and at the significant cost in replacing these machines, which cost between $1500 and $2500. For many people this unexpected cost is beyond what they can afford and they should not have been placed in this position by Philips.
“We are extremely concerned about how much uncertainty surrounds the recall in Australia and the expected timeframes of when people can expect to either have these machines replaced or refunded.”
Mr Zerno said Philips was already undergoing scrutiny in the US court system for the products.
“If there is merit to the allegations being levelled in the US courts that Philips knew of these issues for some time and the recall coincided with the release of Phillips’ new product line which did not contain the problematic foam, and would potentially entice users consumers to simply buy the new machines, then that is certainly very concerning,” Mr Zerno said.
Mr Zerno said it was imperative people with these machines were not left in limbo any longer.
“Philips must ensure vulnerable people who rely on these machines are not left out of pocket, and that the recalls and replacements are actioned immediately,” he said.
Slater and Gordon is speaking to people impacted by this recall. Anyone affected by the recall is welcome to contact Slater and Gordon by visiting:
For a list of models being recalled, see the TGA website: