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Potential Civil Legal Liability Related to Prescription Opioids

Metzger Wickersham
Potential Civil Legal Liability Related to Prescription Opioids

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.