Accountability for the Opioid Crisis

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared opioid addiction a public health emergency. With a reported 1.6 million people estimated to struggle with an opioid use disorder each year, this declaration was long overdue. The public calls for accountability for the opioid crisis.

As the country struggles to overcome the epidemic, manufacturers of these drugs face legal action for their role in this health crisis. This process is known as opioid litigation.

The New York Opioid Trial

There are a number of ongoing opioid litigation cases listing opioid manufacturers as defendants. One that has garnered a lot of attention in recent weeks is the New York Opioid Trial. 

Here, the state of New York along with Nassau and Suffolk counties has brought legal action against some of the largest opioid manufacturers and distributors. The state alleges that the manufacturer marketed opioids as a safe option with a low risk of addiction while being fully aware of their devastating effects. 

A $1.1 billion settlement of litigation against three opioid distributors, Amerisource Bergen Corp, Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp , was recently announced mid-trial. The deal effectively removed the three defendants from the trial, settling claims by New York State and two of its biggest counties, Suffolk and Nassau, over their role in the opioid crisis. 

Counsel for Nassau County, Hunter Shkolnik explained that this deal “is not contingent on the rest of the country or other states” like the proposed national settlement.

The New York jury opioid trial continues against the remaining defendants, including Endo International PLC. A member of their legal team is currently facing civil contempt charges after failing to produce key evidence during the discovery phase of the lawsuit. In light of these accusations, the judge is contemplating a default judgement.

Opioid Crisis: Legal Ramifications

In the case of opioid drug manufacturers, the ultimate goal is to hold these organizations responsible for their actions. Since the year 1999, more than 760,000 people in the U.S. have lost their lives because of drug overdoses, and over 70% percent of these deaths involved opioids.

Opioid plaintiff lawyers argue that the manufacturers of these opioid drugs over-supplied and over-promoted the drugs while also making claims that there was a low risk of addiction. Intended to offer relief from chronic and short-term pain, those who were prescribed opioids were unaware of how addictive the medications they took were until they were already addicted.

In turn, communities throughout the country have become saddled with the costs of treating these addictions.

From a general decrease in productivity to healthcare costs, addiction treatment programs and criminal proceedings, the epidemic has cost the country trillions of dollars over the course of two decades. Likewise, families and loved ones who have been affected by opioid addiction have incurred their own expenses and irreparable damages. Those who have incurred damages due to the negligence of drug manufacturers are entitled to receive financial compensation to repair their wrongdoings.

Opioid Litigation and its Role in Ending the Epidemic

By holding manufacturers responsible for their actions through the aid of an opioid lawyer, some of the financial loss that has occurred can be recovered. Numerous cases, such as Oklahoma v. Johnson & Johnson, have been filed against top drug manufacturers. The opioid manufacturer was ordered to pay $572 million to the state to fund a recovery plan that consists of preventative measures, addiction treatment, and long-term recovery programs.

As many more lawsuits are filed against manufacturers, plaintiffs can use the funds awarded to restore their lives and their communities. Likewise, these cases act as a warning to drug manufacturers and lead to measures like restricted use and proper warning labels on prescription drugs.

Contact Napoli Shkolnik for a free case evaluation with a skilled lawyer to receive the compensation your community deserves and help put an end to the opioid crisis that has wreaked havoc on millions across the country.