On October 26th, 2017, President Trump declared a public health emergency due to the opioid crisis in the United States. Following this declaration, more people have focused their attention on how the opioid crises became prominent and what lawmakers are actively doing to combat the epidemic.
A 2012 study done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that 2.1 million people in the United States have developed a dependency on opioids. While there have been positive steps towards offering services to help those affected, only a handful of the ideas and services discussed have been made concrete by governmental and community efforts.
One bill that is being put through congress is the Opioid Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2017, which requires the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate any unusual prescribing activity. The bill also calls upon doctors to help treat patients that abuse drugs. The bill is presently being overseen by the Subcommittee on Health.
Still, we are seeing lawsuits pop-up in efforts to protect consumers. The FTC recently filed a lawsuit against a company for falsely advertising that their products facilitate “withdrawal” and “recovery” with “ease,” without providing scientific evidence to support their claims [Federal Trade Commission v. Catlin Enterprises, Inc, et al.]. The State of Ohio and City of Everett are also pursuing lawsuits against large pharmaceutical companies in the interest of protecting their citizens. The State of Ohio v. Purdue Pharma, et al. is seeking damages from Purdue Pharma and four other major drug companies for placing their profits above the “health and well-being of their customers” and falsely marketing their opioids, while the City of Everett v. Purdue Pharma is seeking damages from Purdue Pharma for knowingly “allowing Oxycontin to be funneled into the black market.”
In addition to lawsuits being filed against large pharma, there has also been a rise in questions over the culpability of the doctors who over-prescribe opioid medications to their patients. Recently, a malpractice suit brought against a doctor for the over-prescribing of opioids to his patient was brought forth in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, with the plaintiff being awarded 17.6 million dollars for his doctor’s apparent negligence.
As more investigations open in pursuit of punishing companies and the people who were complicit in pushing opioids, community members must continue to call upon government officials to investigate these claims to ensure this epidemic does not become background noise. Consumers have a right to have their health and mind prioritized above a company’s profit, and government officials have an obligation to choose people over companies.
If you are a victim of opioid or drug dependency due to an unfortunate accident, call a La Mesa personal injury lawyer at (858) 205-4884 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will provide you with answers to your questions and set up a free consultation.