There has been widespread coverage over the devastating effects of opioid
addiction in recent years in Pennsylvania and around the country. Opioids
were involved in over 33,000 drug overdose deaths in 2015, according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Recently, state and federal authorities have begun to investigate drug
companies to determine if the manufacturers have culpability in this epidemic.
Across the country, various legal actions are underway in an attempt to
hold drug companies accountable for America's opioid abuse problem.
For instance, last summer the New Hampshire Attorney General requested
documents related to how several drug companies market their prescription
opioids. The New Hampshire Attorney General wanted to determine if the
drug companies downplayed the addictiveness of such medications.
Opioid distributors have also been
penalized recently by various state and federal agencies. Several distributors have been
hit with claims that they failed to report suspicious orders for controlled
substances to the Drug Enforcement Administration, as required by law.
One such company, Cardinal Health, reached a $44 million dollar settlement
with the federal government and a $20 million dollar settlement with the
state of West Virginia.
Drug manufacturers are also being sued under allegations they know that
their products are trafficked. The city of Everett, Washington instituted
such a suit, claiming that drug company Purdue Pharma knew their pills
were going to the black market to be sold illegally.
The drug industry is beginning to be held accountable for the devastating
effects opioids have on communities across the country. We could soon
start seeing the drug industry being held liable to individuals for the
damage their products have caused.