The National Institutes of Health identified drug companies’ “aggressive marketing” as a major contributor to the nation’s opioid-abuse problem. Their deceptive and fraudulent marketing campaigns misrepresented the safety and efficacy of long-term use. Despite a lack of scientific evidence that supports the use of opioids for long-term pain management, nearly 254 million prescriptions have been issued since 1999. That’s enough to medicate every U.S. adult around the clock for one month.
As hundreds of thousands of people suffered from the metastasizing opioid epidemic, attorneys at Phipps Anderson Deacon LLP took notice. The firm continues to lead the way in opioid litigation and serves as a trusted ally to city, county and state governments who seek justice and reprieve from the often debilitating costs associated with fighting the opioid crisis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the annual economic burden of prescription opioid abuse in the United States to be $78.4 billion. The CDC broke this down further, estimating the staggering average aggregate distribution of economic costs, many of which are shouldered by governments, municipalities and communities as follows:
The end goal of this litigation and others like it is to hold opioid manufacturers accountable for the costs communities incur as a result of the opioid epidemic. These cases seek to recover those costs, including costs for opioids, social costs, and costs related to addiction treatment, programming and training, healthcare, criminal justice and victimization, as well as lost productivity.
Several county governments in Texas, Illinois and New York have filed their own opioid lawsuits that make similar allegations to the Bexar County litigation, including:
Phipps Anderson Deacon LLP, and our team of opioid injury and death attorneys, stand ready to aggressively pursue justice for any municipalities and counties that have been affected by the opioid epidemic. Our firm understands the dreadful nature of this unfortunate, avoidable tragedy and we will not let those responsible avoid accountability any longer. We are prepared to represent those seeking justice against the pharmaceutical companies and prescribing doctors whose negligent actions gave opportunity for this pandemic to become a national crisis. Give us call at (210) 340-9877 now and see if your situation merits legal action.
The co-founder of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, stated during an interview, “We were responding to marketing – really a brilliant marketing campaign – and in some cases marketing disguised as education – that led us to believe that the risks of addiction had been overblown, led us to believe that we had been allowing patients to suffer needlessly, that we could be more compassionate if we prescribed opioids more liberally; and that campaign was filled with misinformation.” This sort of deception is unacceptable and justice must be served.
Since the Pharma litigation concluded, Phipps Anderson Deacon has been routinely contacted about opioid litigation because the firm’s attorneys are uniformly acknowledged to be the most experienced in the country concerning the marketing and distribution of these dangerous drugs. The firm currently represents governmental entities in multiple states and counties in on-going litigation against pharmaceutical companies and physicians. It is also actively investigating similar cases on behalf of government bodies and institutions across the country.
The toll opioid addiction has taken on American society as a whole has been commonly referred to as the “opioid epidemic.” According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), it is estimated that between 26.4 million and 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide. An estimated 2.1 million people in the U.S. suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012, and an estimated 467,000 were addicted to heroin.
The opioid epidemic has been called the worst drug crisis in American history, and the associated death rates are comparable to those of AIDS in the 1990s, according to a Frontline report. The epidemic has hit nearly everyone, regardless of race. Every racial demographic has seen more overdoses since 1999, with heroin spiking especially after 2010. Whites and Native Americans have experienced the largest rise in death rates, particularly when it comes to opioid-related fatalities. By 2014, whites and Native Americans were dying at double or triple the rates of African-Americans and Latinos.
The total number of opioid pain relievers prescribed in the United States has skyrocketed in the past 25 years. The number of prescriptions for opioids have risen from around 76 million in 1991 to nearly 207 million in 2013. The United States is the biggest global consumer, accounting for almost 100 percent of the world total for hydrocodone and 81 percent for oxycodone. An estimated 165,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2014.
Aside from the pain caused to individuals and families affected on a personal level by this addiction crisis, communities across the United States have shouldered real costs in trying to combat the opioid epidemic. The annual estimated economic burden of prescription opioid abuse in the United States totals a startling $78.4 billion dollars. This breaks down to an average aggregate distribution as follows:
1 Sources: The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin are typically prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. They act by attaching to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are found on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs in the body. When these drugs attach to their receptors, they reduce the perception of pain and can produce a sense of well being and pleasure; people who abuse opioids often seek to intensify their experience by taking the drug in ways other than those prescribed.
Anyone who takes prescription opioids can become addicted to them, and as many as one in four patients receiving long-term opioid therapy in a primary care setting struggles with opioid addiction. In 2014, nearly two million Americans either abused or were dependent on prescription opioid pain relievers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Every day, over 1,000 people receive treatment in emergency departments for the misuse of prescription opioids, and U.S. law enforcement officers are shouldering the heavy burden of responding to an endless string of narcotics-related calls while attempting to protect themselves from exposure to lethal substances including the potent opioid fentanyl, which is up to 50 times more potent than heroin.
Taking too many prescription opioids can stop a person’s breathing—leading to death. Opioids include both brand name and generic versions of the following:
Other counties and municipal governments around the United States are currently pursuing opioid litigation against pharmaceutical companies, including:
Recognize the opioid manufacturers’ marketing tactics for what they are.
Account for community costs associated with the following: Opioids, Addiction treatment involving opioids, Social costs related to opioids and addiction, Programming and training costs related to opioids and addiction.
Know your legal rights – both individually and collectively.
Municipalities, county governments and other community organizations may be able to hold the pharmaceutical companies responsible for the opioid epidemic responsible and begin the healing process.
Communities, by filing lawsuits, are seeking to hold drug companies responsible for the following costs:
Learn your rights by scheduling a free legal consultation today.