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Why Local Government is Suing Opiate Manufacturers

I focus on achieving favorable results with dedication & hard-work.- Griffin O'Hanlon

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

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.

Bill O'Mara

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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