Prescription opioid abuse has become a major health concern in the United States. Every day over 1,000 people are treated in emergency rooms across the U.S. for abuse of prescription opioids, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that from 1999 to 2015, more than 183,000 Americans died from overdose related to opioid medication. Prescription opioids killed almost twice as many people in the U.S. as did heroin in 2014, and surpass car accident deaths in the U.S. Nearly 100 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses, and half of all overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. 91% of persons who have a non-fatal overdose of opioids are prescribed opioids again within one year, and 7 in 10 opioids overdoses that are treated in an ER are for prescription opioids.

Louisiana is not immune to this crisis. In 2016, there were 305 opioid-related deaths in Louisiana, 211 in Orleans parish. Louisiana is one of eight states that has more opioid prescription than it has residents.

Dozens of states, counties, and cities across the country have filed suit against the drug manufacturers, “Big Pharma,” and distributors accusing the companies of flooding the market with highly-addictive opioids to boost their profits. These suits seek damages for payments made through the Medicaid program for what it describes as excessive opioid prescription and for treatment costs tied to opioid abuse. Louisiana’s Deputy Attorney General estimates opioid-related costs to the state at about $160 million annually.

LAWSUITS AGAINST THE OPIOID MANUFACTURERS/DISTRIBUTORS

The State of Louisiana via the Louisiana Department of Health, as well as a number of municipalities and state Sheriffs, have filed suit. We anticipate many more opioid lawsuits across the state, including Orleans Parish. Across the country:

  • In 2017, McKesson Corporation, one of the nation’s largest distributors of pharmaceuticals, paid a $150 million civil penalty for violations of the Controlled Substances Act.
  • In 2017, Mallinckrodt Plc, a manufacturer of oxycodone, agreed to pay $35 million to resolve U.S. investigations into its monitoring and reporting of suspicious orders of controlled substances.
  • In 2017, Costco Wholesale reached an $11.75 million settlement to resolve allegations that its pharmacies violated the Controlled Substances Act when they improperly filled prescriptions for controlled substances.
  • In 2017, Cardinal Health reached a settlement in the amount of $20 million with the state of West Virginia regarding the company’s distribution of opioids in state between 2007 and 2012.
  • In 2016, Cardinal Health agreed to pay $44 million to the United States to resolve allegations that it violated the Controlled Substances Act in Maryland, Florida and New York by failing to report suspicious orders of controlled substances to pharmacies located in those states.

PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS

If you are a member of an affected city, parish or state government, or if you or a loved one has been affected by opioid addiction, please give us a call for a free consultation today.