Ohio Moving Forward In Landmark Opioid Case Against Large Drug Manufacturers
If lawsuits in Ohio go in favor of the counties that have been devastated by the opioid crisis then we could see a trend across the country of more counties suing massive drug companies.
Many states are facing a devastating epidemic when it comes to opioids. West Virginia leads the country in most deaths per capita with Ohio facing a close second. Beyond just the sad deaths due to overdose, tens of thousands of people from each state in this country are facing an unexpected addiction that all began with a doctor prescribing them pain pills. Two Ohio counties are now placing the blame on several opioid distributors, manufacturers and even a giant in the retail business. Jury Selection is almost complete and the lawyers representing these Ohio Counties are very confident they have sufficient evidence to win a case against these massive companies.
The two Ohio counties, Cuyahoga and Summit counties, presented legal papers stating, “the opioid epidemic… constitutes an unreasonable interference with public health, public safety, public peace or public comfort and that the blame belongs to the opioid industry.” The lawsuit is for billions of dollars and is planned to be used to subsidize inpatient addiction treatment for Ohio which is really needed in its states and surrounding states during this epidemic. Oklahoma has already won a major lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson. The funds would also go to cleaning up any lingering mess the opiate addiction crisis has caused as well, the details weren’t more specific than that but the general idea is that this money will go to a great cause.
So who are these drug companies facing this lawsuit? There are seven in total. They include drug distributors Amerisource Bergen, Cardinal Health and Henry Schein. There’s also manufacturers Johnson and Johnson and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Then finally, the big chain retailer/pharmacy, Walgreens.
Walgreens is being sued for its warehousing of opioids and not dispensing them too often or irresponsibly. A subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, is arguing that the company can not be and is not liable for starting the drug crisis, the worse drug crisis our country has ever seen. They stated, “Janssen’s medications had among the lowest rates of abuse and diversion of any [potentially abused] prescription opioid on the market. Nor can plaintiffs blame the crisis on Janssen’s marketing.” They claimed that less than 1% of their primary opioid products, Nucynta ER and Duragesic is prescribed to people in the counties that are taking legal action. Duragesic is a fentanyl-based skin patch painkiller and according to them is very difficult to abuse.
Janssen has already had to pay out in a similar lawsuit from Oklahoma which had the company lose half a billion dollars. So no matter what the defense these giant companies have, states are blaming them before anyone else no matter how much they claim they have nothing to do with the opioid crisis. Is that right or wrong? Share below what you think, please.
Teva is holding its stance and believe at trial there will be no clear evidence that they are to blame for the opioid issue. “At trial, the counties will not be able to present testimony showing a single false statement that any Teva or Actavis Generic defendant made to a single prescriber in the counties; a single county doctor who was misled by anything that they said or did; or a single patient who was harmed because of a false statement.”
Walgreens also does not believe it has any responsibility and believes the plaintiffs can’t show any conduct by their company has resulted in the opioid crisis at all. On the flip side, there are quite a few other drug companies and manufacturers that have settled outside of the lawsuit so they didn’t have to deal with the bad publicity.
If this Ohio lawsuit goes well in favor of the counties that have been devastated by the opioid crisis then you will start to see a trend across the country of counties suing these massive drug companies that are worth billions of dollars. You know what? These companies should have to face the fire, I can’t tell you how many people I know that are addicted to pain pills and it all started with a doctor prescribing them way too many opiates without much warning and then all of a sudden stopped supplying them and innocent people found themselves getting sick because they grew dependent on these drugs that companies want to sell as safe to take.
While we still need to address the lack of help for people with addiction issues, there are simply not enough resources and facilities that make it really hard for a large demographic of people who are poor and have no insurance to get help. We also need to take a stand against the companies that are very irresponsibly creating and supplying these extremely powerful drugs which in turn are killing our own people. Hopefully, this is a big first step.