Drug company liability for opioid crisis sought in lawsuits
Many people in New York know someone who has struggled with an addiction problem or they may even themselves have personally experienced this type of challenge. Sadly, many people who become addicted to drugs develop their addiction after being prescribed a legal medication by a doctor or other health care provider. Once an addiction sets in, it can initiate a downward spiral in which a person becomes compelled to do things they might not otherwise simply to feed their addiction.
The problem of drug addictions that stem from or involve prescription medications has become more and more widely acknowledged around the country. As reported by CNBC, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that nearly 218,000 people died between 1999 and 2017 due to overdoses in which an opioid drug was involved. Opioids are medications used to provide relief from serious pain.
One such drug is OxyContin. It was first introduced onto the market in 1996 by the pharmaceutical manufacturer, Purdue Pharma. Today, as the nation’s opioid epidemic continues to grow, the District of Columbia and 48 states, including New York, have initiated legal action against Purdue Pharma. In essence, the lawsuits assert that the owners of the drug company were highly aware of the drug’s addictive quality yet they actively limited sharing that information with medical providers or the public.
Instead, the lawsuits allege that the company took actions to encourage not just the use of the drug but the use of the drug at dosages that are considered very high, thus contributing to many people’s addiction and even overdoses.