Why Local Government is Suing Opiate Manufacturers
America’s opioid epidemic kills an estimated 30,000 people a year in the United States making it a massive crisis. The government is stepping up criminal enforcement against medical professionals. At the same time, states and cities are suing opiate manufacturers.
In 2015, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood became the first state legal officer to sue a prescription drugmaker for its role in the crisis. Now others are suing opiate manufacturers.
More than 100 more states, cities, and counties have filed lawsuits which are appearing at one a week, reported Governing.com.
Most opioids are legally prescribed. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that three-quarters of people who enter treatment for a heroin addiction took their first opioid from a legal prescription.
Opioid addiction is devastating state budgets in some of the worst affected places like Ohio and West Virginia.
Every day, as many as 91 Americans die from overdoses of opioids, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report in Governing noted some states like Tennessee can no longer afford to carry out autopsies for every suspected drug overdose. This means the official count of deaths from the opioid epidemic may be understated.
As well as more than 100 lawsuits, 41 states joined forces to subpoena information from four drug manufacturers: Johnson & Johnson's Janssen unit, Endo, Teva Pharmaceutical and Allergan. They’ve also requested more information from Purdue Pharma and drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson.
We know from some of the mass tort lawsuits litigated in recent years that big pharma often puts profit ahead of the interests of patients.
We noted how Johnson & Johnson was involved in six of the seven largest mass tort product liability actions making their way through the courts.
These include the blood thinner Xarelto, Risperdal and Baby Powder which is linked to ovarian cancer.
Most of the localities are seeking monetary damages to help them recover the money lost to fighting the opioid epidemic. Many of the lawsuits are seeking to force these big drugmakers to change their marketing tactics, which cities, states and counties argue are deceptive, to make it more clear just how addictive the pills can be.
If the manufacturers underplay the deadly nature of these drugs on their labeling, they could be exposed to wrongful death lawsuits brought by the families of those who died. We may see a massive expansion of those suing opiate manufacturers.
To talk to a Virginia dangerous drug attorney, call us at (757) 455-0077.