A lawsuit was filed in May 2009 in the State of Illinois by patients who allegedly suffered from morphine overdose caused by generic morphine sulfate manufactured by Ethex Corporation. The drug had been recalled in 2008 upon discovery that the pills could contain the drug in excess of what they were supposed to.

A lawsuit was filed on May 29 in Circuit Court of St. Clair County against the generic drug maker and the parent company, KV Pharmaceuticals, in which, one of the plaintiffs, Lester Skinner, filed the lawsuit claiming that his wife, Carolyn, suffered an accidental morphine overdose resulting in her death after taking the tablets.

Two other plaintiffs, Stephania Fox and Walter Mueller, filed separate lawsuits on their own behalf, alleging that they suffered severe reactions when they received more morphine in each tablet than their doctors prescribed.

Another legal case involving the Ethex morphine tablets was filed by the family of Henry Peters Dyck against the South Eastman Regional Health Authority in July 2010, seeking damages for negligence that allegedly proved fatal. The documents filed in the Court of Queen’s Bench claimed that Henry Dyck suffered a cardiac arrest which resulted in his death. This occurred in Bethesda Hospital after he was administered an overdose of morphine by the staff. The family claimed he was being treated for a knee pain which otherwise was not life threatening. Henry Dyck was admitted to hospital on July 23, 2008, with hemarthrosis in his right knee, a condition involving pain and bleeding in the joint. Dyck was prescribed 10-30 milligrams of liquid morphine every 4 hours, as needed.

The statement of claim alleges that on August 1, a nurse gave Dyck a cup containing 100 milligrams of morphine, as opposed to the 20 milligrams he was supposed to be administered at that time. The court documents further stated that the hospital staff immediately attempted to reverse the effects of morphine under the supervision of Dr. Curtis Krahn, pumping his stomach, flushing his bowels and inducing vomiting, but were unsuccessful and Dyck’s condition worsened until he went into cardiac failure and died four hours later.