The War On Opioids Takes A New Turn
13 June 2018No Comments
The Opioid crisis has become epidemic all across the nation, and there’s few people who haven’t heard about it or been touched by it in some way. As the public and our government race to find ways to battle this growing problem, some states are taking new and serious measures to fight the battle. In Texas, there were over 2,800 opioid deaths in 2016 alone based on CDC statistics.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has now announced that his office has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against the company that produces OxyContin, Purdue Pharma. The suit alleges that Purdue has engaged in deceptive marketing of dangerous painkillers with a high likelihood of addiction. It further alleges that the company has gotten rich on the backs of a crisis that causes tens of thousands of deaths every year.
Any drug lawyer can tell you that the numbers surrounding opioid overdose in our nation are terrifying and shocking. 115 people in the United States die every day from overdoses of drugs in this class. Opioids include illegal narcotics like heroin, but also cover prescription painkillers, and for many, this is where addiction and abuse starts.
Even worse, the death toll is on the rise at unprecedented levels. In 2016 alone there were 42,249 opioid overdoses across the nation. This is up by a whopping 400% over the past two decades, according to CDC numbers.
Calling out the Drug Companies
A bipartisan group of 40 state attorneys general across the nation last year started an investigation into potentially unlawful practices by companies that manufacture these drugs. Their findings show that some companies may be using false marketing to pressure consumers and doctors into using ineffective and highly addictive drugs for pain treatment.
While these companies advertise their drugs as safe, effective and with a low risk of addiction, the CDC notes that there is no strong evidence to support these claims. It further goes on to say there is a distinct lack of strong evidence that opioids are any better at improving pain or function than anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen. Further, these non-steroidal medicines carry fewer risks than their opioid counterparts.
The Texas Lawsuit
The lawsuit filed by Paxton’s office alleges that Purdue has misrepresented or failed to properly disclose the risk of addiction in its drugs; that it has misrepresented the risk associated with increased doses in claiming there is no ceiling; that it has made false claims and misrepresented the idea of “psuedoaddiction”; and that it has made false representations about abuse-deterrent formulations.
Texas is not the only state to have filed such a lawsuit. Five other states have also stepped up to file similar cases. Purdue, for its part, has released an open letter claiming that it has a powerful track record in addressing the problem of prescription drug abuse.
Dangerous Drug Lawsuits
Drug lawyers are facing more dangerous drug suits every day, as big pharma operates with more impunity each passing year. It’s important to hold drug companies accountable for their products, just as any manufacturer is held responsible for product liability. There are three major types of dangerous drug lawsuits: defective manufacturing, dangerous side effects, and improperly marketed drugs.
Defective manufacturing covers drugs that have become tainted or have experienced an error at the manufacturing facility or during shipping or labeling that renders them dangerous to use. Dangerous side effects involve a failure to manufacture drugs that are relatively safe from risk, or failure to warn consumers about the potential risks involved. Finally, there are those drugs whose marketing misrepresents the safety or potential side effects of the drug.
Working with a Drug Lawyer
Most drug-related product liability suits involve a combination of the above three types. The Texas lawsuit is a primary example—it alleges that the drugs manufactured by Purdue have dangerous side effects, and that the company is deliberately downplaying those side effects through its marketing.
It can be difficult for the victim of a defective or dangerous drug to know which steps to take or who to hold responsible. These cases can involve manufacturers, testing labs, sales reps, even doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. If you are suffering from the consequences of a misrepresented, dangerous or defective drug, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your suffering.
Your best shot at getting that compensation, however, is to work with a qualified drug lawyer. If you’re in Texas and in need of representation, contact the Bandas Law Firm for a free consultation on your case today.