Can Lawsuits Help Address and Stem the Opioid Crisis?
If you or a loved one has been affected by the opioid crisis, then know that you are one of millions. In 2015, it is believed that an estimated 2 million people suffered from a substance use disorder related to prescription opioids in the United States. Worse, more than 100 people die every day because of an opioid overdose in the U.S. alone.
The question, then, for opioid overdose victims, lawmakers and concerned Americans is what can be done to stem this ongoing crisis?
States Are Already Filing Lawsuits Against Opioid Manufacturers
In May of 2018, the attorneys general of six states filed lawsuits against Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, one of the most commonly used prescription opioids. Other states have also joined in high-profile opioid litigation, and so have local cities, counties and the federal government. All told, in fact, it is estimated that 400 cities, counties and states have filed lawsuits based on their public spending to help stem the opioid epidemic.
At the heart of these government lawsuits is the claim that opioid manufacturers have contributed to rising costs in government spending for opioid-related services in a nation where more than 300,000 have passed away because of opioids.
Most of the opioid cases have been ushered into federal court under a large umbrella and transferred to Cleveland Judge Dan A. Polster in multi-district litigation. In Judge Dan A. Polster’s words, one of the goals of this consolidated federal litigation ought to be to “dramatically reduce the number of pills that are out there”, while also working to ensure that opioid pills are also “being used properly.”
Individual Opioid Lawsuits Are Also Being Filed
In addition to government lawsuits, individual and class-action lawsuits are being filed by victims who have been personally affected by the opioid crisis. People and organizations who have joined the ever-growing number of litigants against opioid manufacturers and other responsible parties include:
- Relatives of the deceased who were impacted by opioids
- Individuals who are or were addicted to opioids
The five major opioid manufacturers of the opioid crisis that are at the center of this litigation include the aforementioned Purdue Pharma, as well as:
- Endo International
- Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
- Janssen Pharmaceuticals
Can Lawsuits Address the Opioid Crisis?
Given the significant legal effort to hold opioid manufacturers accountable, the hope is that successful legal settlements and lawsuits will benefit the victims of this crisis. If the government lawsuits prove effective, recovering compensation can provide additional monetary resources that are used to treat the root causes of opioid addiction and help rehabilitate opioid victims.
For the individuals and families affected by opioids, settlements and favorable trial verdicts can ensure that opioid manufacturers are held accountable as these families receive justice.
In response to these lawsuits, several leading opioid manufacturers have already said they will reduce the number of opioids that are produced. If these lawsuits prove largely successful, ideally Big Pharma will also be forced to make additional behavioral changes related to opioids.
If you are ready to protect your legal rights and hold Big Pharma accountable for the harms inflicted on you and your loved ones, the nationally recognized team at The Ledger Law Firm is ready to discuss your legal claim. Contact us online to discuss your opioid lawsuit with an opioid litigation lawyer at Ledger Law today.