The wave of opioid litigation is rising. Will it become a tsunami that can drown drug companies with billions to lose? Undoubtedly, you’ve heard about lawsuits being filed against opioid manufacturers, but there are so many suits being filed it can be hard to get a grasp of what’s really going on. Here are some key highlights to get you up to speed quickly.
Cities and States Across the Country File Lawsuits
Hundreds of lawsuits have already been filed across the country against opioid manufacturers and distributors. These lawsuits basically allege one of two things:
- Opioid distributors supplied gross amounts of drugs to communities (often, more drugs than the number of people) in violation of federal laws that work to prevent drugs from being diverted to the street.
- Opioid manufacturers launched a massive marketing push that overplayed the benefits of the drugs and underplayed their dangers including the increased dangers of prescriptions and paid kick-backs and other benefits that incentivized physicians to prescribe the medication.
Major Players in the Opioid Epidemic and Opioid Litigation
Some of the pharmaceutical companies named in these lawsuits include:
- Johnson & Johnson
- J&J subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals
- Purdue Pharma
- Teva Pharmaceuticals
- Teva subsidiary Cephalon
Some of the distributors named in lawsuits include:
- Cardinal Health
- McKesson Corporation
Individuals Are Seeking Justice
Victims are filing personal injury lawsuits seeking compensation from drug makers. To be eligible to seek compensation:
- you must not have a history of addiction, but
- you received a prescription opioid for an injury or event, and
- you became addicted to your prescription, and
- you suffered a major life setback because of the addiction, and
- you completed rehab or treatment at an in-patient center to get your life back.
The families of those who died due to a prescription opioid addiction can file wrongful death claims if their loved one had no history of addiction, but their life spun out of control after receiving one or more opioid prescriptions, and despite receiving treatment, they died from their addiction to prescription opioids, and toxicology reports confirm this.
Compensation for Opioid Epidemic
States and local jurisdictions are seeking billions of dollars in compensation for expenses related to the epidemic, including for the costs of:
- drug treatment programs
- emergency medical care and transportation
- law enforcement response and investigations
- property damage and repairs.
Individuals and families are seeking compensation for:
- Attorney costs and court fees
- Drug treatment programs
- Emergency medical care and transportation
- Lost wages and missed work
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
More than 250 cases have been consolidated in Cleveland, Ohio under Judge Dan Polster who is pushing for a resolution before trials begin in his court. Some have compared the litigation to the Big Tobacco litigation in the 90s when the four biggest tobacco companies in the country settled claims from 46 states for over $200 billion. Even though some lawsuits have already settled, it remains to be seen if the sheer mass of pending litigation can change the course of the opioid epidemic.