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How Much Did Pharmaceutical Companies Do To Cause The Opioid Epidemic?

August 8, 2017 · FLEMING | NOLEN | JEZ, L.L.P.

The opioid epidemic has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives across the United States, and shows no sign of slowing down. According to the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy, an estimated 793 million doses of prescription painkillers were prescribed in the state alone, enough opioids to provide every human in Ohio with 68 pills. Ohio leads the nation on deaths caused by overdoses, and approximately 20 percent of its population received an opioid prescription in 2016.

While Ohio is at the center of this devastating issue, it affects people all across the nation. Recently, advocacy groups and attorneys generals started working together to find out if pharmaceutical companies can be legally held responsible for the widespread use of these drugs through aggressive marketing campaigns and a lack of focus on the addictive nature of their products.

Mike DeWine, the Attorney General of Ohio recently filed a lawsuit against several pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceuticals, joining an ever-growing list of lawsuits these companies face across the United States. Mississippi, Illinois, four counties in New York, Orange and Santa Clara Counties in California, the city of Everett, Washington and the Cherokee Nation.

“What you’re getting now is a lot more legal minds across the country focusing on this, and figuring out how to pay these huge bills,” Sam Quinones, the author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, said in an interview. “Everyone is groping for a legal theory that will work in court.”

Among other things, these legal minds are drawing on the massive legal battle between 46 states and six other jurisdictions and the tobacco industry that led to the largest civil-litigation settlement agreement in the history of the country. Attorneys general from these states argued that the companies should be held responsible for the cost of treatment for diseases caused by smoking. This left tobacco companies immune from future suits, but they agreed to make annual payments to states in order to fund anti-smoking campaigns and public-health programs in perpetuity.

The opioid crisis is a massive issue that will require years of hard work and dedicated service to push back against. Our opiate attorneys at Fleming, Nolen & Jez are committed to helping every client we take on fight for and secure the compensation they need to move forward in their lives in the best position possible. Since we first opened our doors in 1981, our tireless efforts have led to more than $4 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements for our clients. Call us at (713) 621-7944 to explain your situation to a member of our firm today, or start out with a free evaluation by sending us your information through our online form.

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