As we are now aware, opioids—originally created for the purpose of pain relief—have a dark side: a euphoric, and, therefore, addictive high. The dramatically increased demand for these drugs has resulted in a growing opioid crisis in the United States, which claimed over 42,000 victims in 2016—a number far above any recorded in years prior.1 Many victims and their families have sought compensation via a pharmaceutical product liability lawyer.
The opioid crisis has not only cost many addicts their lives but has also left many devastated families in its wake. Billions of tax dollars have been spent each year on law enforcement, public healthcare, treatment facilities, and many other services.
Purdue Pharma’s Opioid Brand Names and Their Significant Health Risks
Opioids have been marketed under a long list of brand names. The list of products marketed by Purdue Pharma includes many of familiar names, including:
- MS Contin
The long-term health effects of continued use of opioids, even if used as prescribed, can and have resulted in a number of serious health risks.2 Included in these risks are an opioid overdose. Consumers who take opioids soon need more of the drug to get the same level of pain relief because the body becomes used to the drug very quickly.
Because opioids have such a significant impact on the brain and cause feelings of intense pleasure, even short-term use can cause an addiction to form. This happens because opioids cause the brain to produce fewer natural painkillers, which leads consumers to depend more on the drug for pain relief.
Using opioids over long periods of time can negatively affect sex drive and mental and emotional health, causing people to become depressed. When the use of these drugs has graduated to addiction, consumers can experience even more alarming health conditions, including a weakened immune system and an increased risk of contracting hepatitis and HIV, along with coma and death.
Opioids as Gateway Drugs
The opioid crisis goes deeper than just the drugs themselves. When an addict can’t get access to opioids because they can’t afford them or were denied a prescription, they can become desperate and turn to hard street drugs like heroin in order to get the high they need.
This has resulted in an overall increase in heroin addiction, which is placing even more strain on the healthcare system in the form of increased costs.
Purdue Pharma’s History of Claims
The problems for Purdue began with another opioid drug it manufactured: OxyContin. The company lied about the addictive properties of this drug and claimed that the drug’s effects would last for 12 hours—a claim that was proven to be completely false.
Because the drug OxyContin is so highly addictive and did not last for 12 hours as the company claimed, a person taking the drug would experience withdrawals, which would lead to the need for more pills, resulting in an OxyContin addiction.
In 2007, Purdue pleaded guilty to the charges that it had misbranded OxyContin with the intent to mislead and defraud the public. The result of this plea was a $635 million fine. Unfortunately, Purdue’s frightening history of lying to consumers about the real dangers of its drugs is repeating itself today.
Purdue Pharma and Other Opioid Makers Being Held Accountable
At the end of February of this year, it was announced that the Federal Government would be suing Big Pharma by seeking reimbursement from Purdue and other companies who make opioids for the billions it has spent to battle the crisis.
Evidence has been presented which shows the key role played by Purdue Pharma and other companies in the pharmaceutical industry to cause the opioid crisis. This evidence shows that Purdue and others used alleged deceptive marketing to encourage consumers to use opioids, and said these drugs were safe treatments for chronic pain. Evidence also shows that Purdue misled the public by exaggerating the benefits and defining opioids as “abuse-resistant.”
Purdue Pharma isn’t the only company who is being accused of lying; the wholesale distributors of these drugs are also in violation of the Controlled Substances Act because they didn’t notify the US Drug Enforcement Administration when large or frequent opioid purchases—which are red flags for growing dependency on the drugs—had been made.
Nationwide Effort to Recover Damages Includes Florida
Several states have come together to demand reimbursement for the millions lost by their healthcare systems since the opioid crisis began. However, many individual consumers directly impacted by the crisis are also filing their own lawsuits against those who prescribe, supply, and make these dangerous drugs for causing or contributing to their addiction, or the addiction or loss of a loved one.
Attorneys in all states, including Florida, are helping the victims of opioid addiction and their families to fight back by filing pharmaceutical company lawsuits. Although the complaints and circumstances of each lawsuit are unique, all generally state that the companies responsible for making, selling, and distributing of opioids should have known about the increased overdose risk of the drugs and their other significant health risks.
What to Do if You or Someone You Love Is a Victim of Opioid Abuse
Despite what’s being done to address the opioid crisis, many families and their loved ones in Florida and other states have already been harmed by medical complications or the loss of a loved one as the result of opioid addiction. These complications have resulted in lost wages and costly medical and funeral bills, not to mention pain and suffering.
Although receiving compensation via a lawsuit cannot change the damage that’s already been done, it is helping families to heal by allowing them to obtain the treatment they need.
Are You Entitled to Compensation?
If you or someone you love has become hospitalized, injured, or has died as the result of an opioid overdose or addiction, you do have legal rights that can lead to compensation. The first thing to do is to contact an experienced attorney who can tell you whether or not you have a case.
There are many active court cases involving opioids being started by individual consumers. If you or someone you love was taking these drugs at the time they became injured or lost their life, you may be entitled to compensation.
Steps to a Successful Outcome
Finding the right representation will be the first and most important step you can take. There are many attorneys to choose from. However, it’s important to make sure your attorney is someone you feel you can trust.
In cases like this, an attorney will usually conduct a thorough investigation into not only the medical conditions which caused your doctor to prescribe opioids but also your current level of health for a full and complete picture of your case. They will also contact others who were involved in your medical care.
They should also hold a long track record of successful consumer justice cases and provide the results of these cases when you ask for them. Most importantly, your lawyer needs to be able to fiercely defend your rights as a victim of opioid abuse.
You Can Reclaim Your Life
The government continues to demonstrate its commitment to support big business by padding the wallets of their executives, all at the expense of the health of millions of average consumers.
Victims of opioid abuse have suffered for far too long, thanks to these companies who are only concerned about their bottom line. By taking steps to file your lawsuit, you are sending a very important message to these profiteers—that the drugs they have directly or indirectly supplied to you or someone in your family caused real and irreparable damage.
Filing a pharmaceutical company lawsuit for the injuries and loss you have experienced can get you the compensation you deserve and adds your voice to the millions who are speaking out against the unacceptable negligence of Purdue Pharmaceuticals and other companies in the industry.
Saunders & Walker P.A. understands the complexities of these cases, and, as such, we have been able to realize the best possible outcomes for our clients. If you or someone you love has become injured as the result of an opioid addiction, we can help. Get your free consultation to learn how to file your claim.