If you were old enough in the mid-1990s, you might remember the huge class-action lawsuit against the tobacco industry. The state of Mississippi led the way in that action, which led to tobacco companies being forced to pay millions in lawsuits. Now, Mississippi is leading the way once again, and the industry they are charging after shouldn’t surprise you. The Clarion-Ledger reports on the manufacturers of opioids and the lawsuit they are facing.
The opioid epidemic is killing nearly 100 Americans each day.
On Thursday, November 30, Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center and two Alabama hospitals filed suit against several different makers of opioids. The claim is that the companies used deceptive tactics to market and sell the drugs.
According to the 135-page lawsuit, several manufacturers, including Purdue Pharma, who makes the drug OxyContin, Johnson & Johnson, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Endo Pharmaceuticals, and others are accused of downplaying the chances for addiction.
As a result, hospitals are finding themselves treating patients for opioid addiction, overdose, and babies born with an addiction to the substance. They claim that the expensive and complex treatment is rarely compensated.
The hospitals are claiming their losses as damages, asserting that they would not have suffered such losses were it not for the medications misrepresented by the defendants.
Purdue and Teva have released statements saying that they are trying to fight the opioid crisis by providing doctor and patient resources. Teva is also working to develop non-opioid chronic pain treatment. Johnson & Johnson has stated that the lawsuit is unfounded and Endo has released a statement indicating it has ceased opioid production.
This is the first lawsuit of its kind – a class action RICO lawsuit.
The lawsuit represents all U.S. hospitals who have treated patients with opioid-related health issues.
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