Opioid Lawsuit LawyerDrug overdose has become the leading cause of death among people under 50. Drug overdoses kill more than 55,000 Americans each year. Sixty percent of those deaths are caused by opioids. Overdose fatalities have more than tripled in the last 15 years.
The opioid epidemic has taken a devastating toll not only on addicts, but also on family, friends, and entire communities. Financial costs to local, state and federal governmental agencies run into the tens of billions of dollars each year. The opioid epidemic strains public healthcare, treatment facilities, law enforcement, criminal justice and incarceration facilities. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the total cost at a staggering $75 billion per year.
Our law firm is investigating opioid lawsuits for individuals as well as for various governmental agencies. We are investigating litigation against wholesale distributors and also the makers of opioids. We are working to recover the enormous damages that individuals as well as government agencies have sustained as a result of opioid makers’ creation of the nation’s opioid epidemic.
States, Counties, Cities suing Opioid Makers
Several governmental entities have begun the process of suing opioid (wholesale) distributors and makers. Lawsuits seek reimbursement for government spending to treat all the financial fallout from opioid addictions and overdoses.
Defendants in opioid lawsuits often include companies such as Purdue Pharma, McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a J&J subsidiary), Endo International, Teva Pharmaceutical, Allergan (formerly Actavis), Watson Pharmaceuticals, Covidien.
Opioid Lawsuit Lawyer
Opioid lawsuit petitions typically allege that wholesale distributors violated the federal Controlled Substances Act by failing to alert the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of suspicious opioids purchases. These include orders of unusual size, frequency or pattern. Claims against opioid makers are based on allegations that companies exaggerated opioid benefits and knew the opiods were being overly prescribed, yet failed to warn doctors of their extremely addictive nature and the need to strictly limit the dose.
Opioid lawsuits also claim that drug companies lobbied politicians and courted doctors to artificially increase the use of opioids. Petitions also claim opioid makers willfully allowed the drugs to enter the black market. In 2012, for one example, 793 million doses of opioids were prescribed in Ohio; that number is 60-times larger than the entire population of the state. The year 2010 saw 254 million opioid prescriptions filled in the United States, enough to treat every adult in the country 24-hours a day for one month.
Purdue Pharma Claims
Claims against Purdue Pharma also include allegations of fraud and knowingly encouraging addiction. Lawyers assert that Purdue Pharma promoted its drug OxyContin to the FDA and medical community as less addictive than other painkillers, and claimed it would last for 12 hours. That claim was flat wrong. OxyContin would last less than 12 hours, so the user would begin to experience withdrawals, causing dependency on the drug. The process of withdrawing is what often leads to addiction, as the user feels the need to lessen withdrawal pain.
Purdue Pleads Guilty
Purdue pleaded guilty in 2007 to the federal crime of misbranding its drug OxyContin “with intent to defraud and mislead the public.” Purdue paid a fine of $635 million. Matthews & Associates Law Firm handled several hundred cases against Purdue in Oxycontin-related litigation.
Purdue’s History of Opiod Abuse
Purdue received FDA approval to sell OxyContin in 1995. In 1996, it sold $45 million worth. Then it went on a national campaign to convince doctors that Oxycontin was a non-addictive pain reliever. That campaign worked too boost Purdue profits, to the detriment of many thousands of people and their communities. By 2002, Purdue was selling $1.5 billion worth of OxyContin each year. By 2012, it was selling $3 billion per year. Primary-care doctors (not specialists) were responsible for about half of the prescriptions.
In the past ten years, drug companies have spent more than $880 million lobbying at the state and federal level in an effort to push legislation and regulations regarding opioids. Nobody spent a dollar lobbying for the protection of citizens or for government agencies that would be stuck paying the multi-billion-dollar bill for the opiod epidemic unleashed by drug companies and their lobbyists.
Free Legal Consultation
If you or someone your love has become addicted to opioids, or you work for a local or state government agency affected by the opiod addiction epidemic, contact our law firm for a free legal consultation regarding a potential Opiod Lawsuit against the opioid maker(s).