The Opioid Crisis, Who is Responsible?
The opioid crisis in the United States causes tremendous hardship for the families and victims of those suffering from addiction. On a nationwide scale, the opioid epidemic imposes an economic burden on our nation’s economy in lost productivity, healthcare costs, criminal justice costs, and the alarming number of lives lost. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimated in 2018 that 115 lives were lost daily in this country from prescription opioid usage.
The opioid epidemic has captured national attention, and government interventions have been instituted for policy reform, education, treatment, recovery, and prevention. Forty-nine states have an electronic database that tracks controlled substance prescriptions to identify patients that are misusing drugs and may be at risk for an overdose. In the State of Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order in April 2019 to establish a Statewide Task Force on Opioid Drug Abuse. Along with other state and federally funded programs, this task force was established to combat the epidemic through various strategies. Throughout the nation, there are similar programs that are taking meaningful action to find solutions to this dangerous and complicated epidemic.
Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuits against Pharmaceutical Companies
Pharmaceutical companies are under the scrutiny of the government and the target of complex lawsuits regarding opioid manufacturing and distribution. Some companies aggressively market their products and are purposely deceptive and fraudulent to reap huge profits. They have a duty to advise the public of any known adverse side effects and must be held accountable for their fraudulent practices and marketing campaigns.
Retail Pharmacy Chains are Under Fire for their Role in Dispensing Drugs.
Pharmacy owners and pharmacy chains must fulfill their professional obligations when dispensing controlled substances. There are specific guidelines imposed by regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, to protect the public from abuse and misuse. A pharmacist must communicate with law enforcement agencies if they suspect a prescription has suspicious origins.
A recent Ohio lawsuit was filed in May 2020, naming Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and HBC Grant Eagle pharmacies. It is alleged that these pharmacies are working in collaboration with major pharmaceutical companies to encourage opioid usage. Evidence that these pharmacies facilitate opioid use is based on the excessive amount of opioid prescriptions filled between 2006 and 2015 and bonuses that are given to pharmacies by these companies. There is an October 2020 court date pending for litigation to begin.
Numerous unethical pharmacy owners have received prison sentences and large fines for filling fake prescriptions between 2017 and 2020. For instance, in March 2020, a pharmacy owner in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was charged with 14 counts of distributing and dispensing oxycodone outside the course of professional practice and sentenced to three years in prison.
Health Care Practitioners
There is a reservoir of opioids in our communities from patients that are over-prescribed pain killers from their physicians. Unethical physicians contribute to the opioid crisis; however, most physicians overprescribe in a well-meaning attempt to help their patients. They have been misled about the side effects of these drugs by the pharmaceutical companies for chronic pain. Prescriptions are often written for 30, 60, or 90 days of these drugs, when, in fact, the patient may only need them for a few days following a procedure or surgery. They continue to take them or give them to friends or family members, which begins the drug abuse cycle.
Michael Brady Lynch Firm is a Nationwide Complex Litigation Firm
Our litigation attorneys have successfully fought against pharmaceutical companies for over twenty years to advocate for clients who have been harmed by prescription drug abuse. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients in complex litigation cases using scientific evidence, proven negotiation skills, and litigation strategies. Our law firm has participated as co-counsel in complex cases nationwide due to our extensive experience and successful verdicts.
If you or a family member is a victim of the opioid crisis, we can fight for compensation for your damages. We believe in accountability for those that have been wronged. Contact the Michael Brady Lynch Firm for a free consultation. Our office is located in Winter Park, Florida, and we can be reached at 877-513-9517.