Opioid Abuse Lawsuits

There are many who have long felt that the opioid epidemic in the United States was a direct result of “Big Pharma” marketing efforts to promote their drugs and increase profits. These opioids, that include Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Percocet, Norco, Vicodin, Fentanyl and a number of others,  are  considered by many to be nothing more than a form of legalized heroin and are called ‘incredibly addictive and deadly’ by others. Now States and other government agencies are finally taking notice. Missouri’s top lawyer announced recently that he was suing three pharmaceutical giants ( Endo Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is owned by Johnson & Johnson) he claims their efforts are responsible for a “coordinated campaign of fraud and deception” that has led to the current opioid crisis. Mississippi and Ohio have also filed similar lawsuits and this could turn into a situation similar to that of the cigarette or asbestos industry.

Opioid Abuse Lawsuits // Consumer Safety Watch

Opioid Abuse Lawsuit Information

Big pharmaceutical firms have contributed to one of the worst health epidemics in our county’s history. Due to their aggressive and deceptive marketing efforts, more than 2 million Americans are suffering from opioid addiction. Drug manufacturers have made billions of dollars while turning millions of Americans into addicts.

Lawsuits are already being filed on behalf of many states and other government agencies. Attorneys believe that individuals who suffered as a result of the pharmaceutical companies’ “fraudulent advertising and deceptive trade practices” may also be due compensation for injuries, lost earnings, medical expenses, pain and suffering and more. Ohio’s Attorney General Mike DeWine recently filed a lawsuit against a handful of pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Johnson & Johnson. The lawsuit accuses the companies of spending millions on marketing campaigns that “trivialize the risks of opioids while overstating the benefits of using them for chronic pain.” The companies, the lawsuit alleges, lobbied doctors to influence their opinions about the safety of opioids, “borrowing a page from Big Tobacco.”

Commonly Prescribed Opioids

Statistics gathered by the National Institute on Drug Abuse show prescriptions for opioids have increased from 76 million in 1991 to 207 million in 2013. Today, numerous big pharmaceutical companies produce dozens of addictive drugs that are contributing to the opioid epidemic:

Oxycodone: Well known drugs like OxyContin, Percocet and Roxicodone contain the drug oxycodone. A number of additional brands also contain oxycodone including: Endocet, OxyIR, Percolone, Dazidox, Endocodone, Oxaydo, Percodan, and Xtampza ER. These powerful drugs have become very common over the past 15-20 years. Purdue Pharma alone has made over $31 billion in revenue from sales of OxyContin.

Fentanyl: Fentanyl is an extremely powerful painkiller. In fact, it is estimated fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine. Insys Therapeutics produces Subsys, a form of fentanyl that is sprayed underneath the tongue. Other brand names include Abstral, Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora and Onsolis.

Hydrocodone: Vicodin, Lortab, Norco and Lorcet contain hydrocodone. Additional brands include, Anexsia, Ceta Plus, Hycet, Maxidone, Stagesic and Zydone. These drugs also contain acetaminophen, which carries a risk of drug-induced hepatotoxicity (liver damage).

Hydromorphone: Drugs such as Dilaudid and Exalgo contain hydromorphone, which is approximately five times as powerful as oxycodone. It is sometimes prescribed in extended-release form for constant treatment of pain.

Oxymorphone: This narcotic is often used in conjunction with anesthesia and to treat anxiety. Endo Pharmaceuticals produces Opana and Opana ER, which contain oxymorphone.

“They used bogus front organizations and fake research; they used fraudulent advertising and deceptive trade practices. And they repeatedly lied about the true risks of the drugs they sold.”

– Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley

Opioid Addiction

Addiction is an incurable, progressive and potentially fatal brain disease if left untreated. Drug companies knew many people would become addicted to powerful narcotic painkillers, but they hid the risks to protect their profits. As a result, opioid addicts often face a lifelong struggle as they try to kick their habit, a struggle that can have not only psychological repercussions, but also economic implications as well. Addiction costs include not only the expense of rehabilitation and therapies, but also potentially lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Therefore, individuals affected by opioid addiction should consider filing lawsuits against the drug companies involved to recover these losses.

Furthermore, many families affected by this health crisis will watch their loved ones die from prescription opioid abuse. CDC statistics show that in 2015, more than 33,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses.

How Filing an Opioid Abuse Lawsuit Can Help

While no amount of money can bring back a loved one or make up for the difficulties that addiction or overdose can have on an individual or family, compensation from an Opioid lawsuit may help with reimbursement and costs for:

  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost wages from time off work
  • Medical bills
  • Hospital visits
  • Inpatient or Outpatient Care
  • Ongoing care
  • Pain and suffering
  • Therapy or counseling
  • Funeral expenses

Did Big Pharma's Behavior Lead to Opioid Abuse?

There is some significant evidence that pharmaceutical companies may have engaged in some activities that led to the opioid crisis. A Los Angeles Times investigation into Purdue Pharma, for instance, found that the drug maker, which marketed OxyContin as relieving pain for 12 hours, knew that the drug wore off before that time period. Since the drug didn’t last as long as promised, some patients suffered withdrawal, which led them to become addicted.

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