In August of 2018, New York state became the latest state to sue Purdue Pharma LP, the maker of OxyContin. Like other state lawsuits, the state of New York accused the opioid manufacturer of helping fuel the nationwide opioid epidemic that has killed thousands of Americans through deceptive marketing practices and "widespread" fraud, according to Reuters reporting.
New York Argues That Purdue Is Running a "Reckless, Decades-Long" Scheme
In its lawsuit against Purdue, the state argued that Purdue has been misleading doctors and patients alike for decades. Specifically, the suit claims that the company has downplayed addiction risk, while exaggerating the ability of opioid drugs to improve bodily function for patients.
As reaction to the state’s lawsuit emerged, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement indicating that the opioid epidemic was manufactured by "unscrupulous distributors" who developed their multi-billion dollar industry by effectively "pumping misery into" New York communities.
These strong words were designed to echo the clear intentions of the state’s lawsuit, which is that companies suspected of misleading the public to increase company profits will be "held accountable".
For its part, Purdue strongly denied the allegations made by New York, but it did claim to share the state’s concern over the ongoing opioid and drug overdose crisis that, in 2016, killed more Americans than the entirety of lives lost during the Vietnam War. It is estimated that at least two-thirds of the more than 64,000 lives lost to drug overdoses in 2016 can be attributed to opioids.
These statistics are a horrific reminder of the toll opioids have taken on American states, cities and communities. The legal question, however, is whether manufacturers like Purdue and other opioid makers will be held legally accountable for the crisis that has developed.
New York Now One of 26 States to Sue Purdue
With New York’s addition to the state lawsuits against Purdue, it can now be said that the majority of states have taken legal action against Purdue. These lawsuits seek, collectively, billions in damages from both Purdue and other leading opioid manufacturers and distributors.
New York’s lawsuit alone seeks $500 million in damages from Purdue and seven other companies involved in opioids to help combat the crisis within New York communities.
In addition, hundreds of civil lawsuits have been filed across the country, with many of those being centralized in the state of Ohio. Now, federal Judge Dan Polster is tasked with resolving more than 400 federal lawsuits, as reported by The New York Times in early 2018.
Lawsuits have also been filed against doctors and physicians who originally prescribed the opioids that led to an addiction or overdose. It is important to understand, however, that state lawsuits and/or class action lawsuits are not necessarily the best path toward receiving compensation for your legal claim.
The best strategy for pursuing compensation will depend on the facts and circumstances related to your specific case, which is why it is helpful to discuss your case with an opioid overdose lawyer at The Ledger Law Firm, a nationally recognized personal injury firm representing victims in all 50 states.
Contact us online for a free case evaluation to discuss your right to legal compensation from an opioid manufacturer, distributor or any other legally responsible party.