The opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on communities across the country. With half a million fatalities, and countless Americans battling opioid addiction, the question many of us have been asking in recent years is how this all happened. This now-public health crisis started slowly about 20 years ago, as manufacturers of the opioids began marketing the drugs as a safe, effective treatment for pain patients. Pharmaceutical companies were aggressive in promoting opioids to physicians and pharmacies as low-risk medications. The unfortunate reality is that many of the manufacturers and distributors knew that opioids were powerful and potentially addictive. Over the course of the past two decades, more than 60 billion opioid pills have been delivered to providers across the country. The rippling effect of the opioid epidemic continues to ravage the nation, despite massive pressure on providers to be extremely cautious in prescribing these dangerous drugs.
Who is liable for the rampant opioid overprescription?
In recent years, as the epidemic reached alarming new heights, governmental bodies and litigators started holding liable parties accountable for the damage they have caused. Defendants in current opioid lawsuits include:
- Drugmakers- The pharmaceutical manufacturing divisions of companies like Purdue, Johnson & Johnson, and Allergan for their malignant promotion of opioids as low-risk.
- Distributors- Major distributors AmerisourceBergen, McKesson Corp., and Cardinal Health for providing the vast amount of drugs to pharmacies and physicians without overseeing and reporting suspicious activity.
- Pharmacies- National pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart for their role in providing opioids to patients.
- Physicians- Doctors and physician groups for their excessive, reckless prescription of the dangerous drugs.
What is happening with these opioid lawsuits?
Over 2,500 opioid lawsuits have been filed nationally. The plaintiffs include states, cities, and counties that represent the families and communities who have suffered from the negligence and recklessness of the defendants. While many of the large corporate defendants still refuse to accept responsibility for their significant role in the opioid epidemic, a pending settlement proposal of over $23 billion could change the course of these lawsuits. The settlement, which would bring financial relief to states over the course of 18 years, is still being debated in many states, and at this time only 30 states have agreed to the terms.
These cases are very much ongoing, and the damages and long-term costs of the opioid epidemic are uncertain. Individuals who believe they may have an opioid lawsuit are encouraged to contact an experienced product liability attorney. For a free claim evaluation, contact Scartelli Olszewski today.