Opioid Lawsuits Across the United States
For several decades, pharmaceutical companies have been recommending drugs to medical professionals for various illnesses and conditions, which they claimed were non-addictive. Many of these drugs, including one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs, OxyContin, are, in fact, highly addictive. In their defense, drug manufacturers claim that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared these drugs and that they followed all legal guidelines when manufacturing them.
As a result of these addictive drugs, opioid lawsuits are now becoming one of the largest class of lawsuits. Recently nearly 600 claims have been combined to form one lawsuit filed in federal court. This case is currently being litigated in Ohio, and the outcome of this case will give attorneys some direction as to which way the law is headed.
The number of claim in the federal case continues to grow. In California, there are 30 more cases that plaintiffs plan to add. An estimated 24 million opioid prescriptions were issued in the state of California alone. This is telling of the litigation that is happening in other states and will follow in the coming decade.
One company, Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, has already agreed to provide free treatment to those struggling with addiction in nearly 1,000 of the suits filed against it.
Connecticut itself has one of the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths, at more than 24 deaths per 100,000 persons.
Echoes of Big Tobacco
Observers are drawing parallels between the opioid epidemic and to the 1998 big tobacco settlement where nearly $206 billion total was distributed between 46 states. The premise of that case was that taxpayer money was spent to cover billions of dollars worth of illnesses and health issues that were the result of people using tobacco products.
Many are arguing that, similarly, the rising cost of health care due to opioid addiction is an increasing burden on taxpayers, and that the pharmaceutical companies should pay for the damage the drugs they manufactured created.
Key states that have filed lawsuits are Mississippi, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky Nevada, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Illinois, New York, and California. According to legal analysts, these cases are likely to be settled in a similar way as the big tobacco settlement agreement.
In Florida, both manufacturers of the drugs and the distributors are being sued. According to the lawsuit, Florida is seeking damages for “costs related to drug treatment, babies born addicted to opioids, state foster care services, law enforcement and other taxpayer expenses caused by the epidemic.”
Call Us Today to Speak with a New London Personal Injury Lawyer
At Polito & Harrington, we understand how prescription opioid drugs can hurt patients and their families. We fight for our clients’ rights and are not afraid to take on large insurance companies or drug manufacturers. In addition, when opioid abuse is the result of medical malpractice on the part of a healthcare provider, we have the skill and experience to hold the provider liable through a medical malpractice lawsuit. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys, call us today at (860) 447-3300 or contact us online.