More and more frequently, states and cities are filing lawsuits against Opioid manufacturers. As Purdue Pharma, creator of OxyContin, receives the majority of these lawsuits, they have received the majority of news coverage as of late. With the state of our nation’s Opioid epidemic, many are not sure why the blame is being pushed onto these major companies. It essentially comes down to two factors: advertising and distribution.
What Is Happening With The Lawsuits Against Purdue Pharma?
It all started with a misleading marketing campaign in the 1990s that downplayed the dangers of Opioid painkillers and exaggerated their benefits. When stronger Opioids were being pushed, they were pitched as being less addictive than what was available before. Since they were being pushed to prescribing doctors, hospitals, and clinics this way, of course they became popular to be prescribed. After all, finding a more potent effect with lesser dangers is the ultimate goal of any medication. While their push of their painkiller has been essentially been summed up as false advertising, it presents a greater issue. The companies should have been fully aware of what the drugs were capable of from their clinical trials. Selling the drugs as anything other than what they are is blatant misrepresentation and endangering the lives of the people using it.
The second thing Opioid distributors did that made the situation worse is producing them in massive quantities. They allowed these pills to be pushed out on an unprecedented scale. In the past few years, even before the President declared an Opioid epidemic, many areas across the U.S. have been prescribed more bottles of Opioids than there are people. That includes children who are not old enough to be given those pills. All of this was done while while knowing that these drugs have a high risk of abuse.
Today, and going as late back as 2012, states have individually come forward to file lawsuits against the negligence of big pharma, though they are not the only ones. Smaller governments at the county and city level have filed lawsuits independent of their state. Some of these have been in states who have not filed lawsuits at all. As of August 14th, 2018, New York has joined the list against the OxyContin manufacturer and brought the list up to 27 states.
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Purdue Pharma has already settled with two states outside of court. While this was easy to do at the time, the shear amount of states coming forward will make this more difficult going forward, especially considering that there are still 23 States that can come forward on the same grounds.
Cooper Smith earned his Bachelor’s in Writing for Entertainment from Full Sail University. While he was initially interested in a career in television, he saw an issue in his community and felt compelled to do something more. Now, he uses his knowledge to reach out to people who may need help and make the public aware of issues we are facing as a society. When he isn’t behind a computer, Cooper travels somewhere new.
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