On Tuesday, January 23, New York City joined the U.S. cities and counties that are actively suing the makers of prescription opioid painkillers like OxyContin, fentanyl, morphine, hydrocodone, and Percocet that have played a major role in killing thousands of people across the nation. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $500m lawsuit that was filed in state supreme court.
“More New Yorkers have died from opioid overdoses than car crashes and homicides combined in recent years,” De Blasio said. “‘Big pharma’ helped to fuel this epidemic by deceptively peddling these dangerous drugs and hooking millions.” The mayor said that more than 1,000 New York residents alone died from opioid-related overdoses in 2016.
The opioid crisis is worse than it’s ever been, and New York isn’t the only state feeling the effects. Over 60 major cities and states—including Kentucky—have filed lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies like McKesson and Perdue Pharma that have pushed the drugs into the hands of patients since the civil war. The lawsuits allege that manufacturers neglected to research the highly-addictive nature of prescription opioids and may not have properly warned doctors about the high risk of overdose.
Worse yet, there is now evidence suggesting that developing newborns may have a higher chance of being born with birth defects if the mother is addicted to prescription opioid painkillers. Pregnant women and newborns—until just recently—have been left out of most research regarding the effects of long-term opioid use. Between the years 1998 and 2011, opioid dependence among pregnant women has more than doubled. If we don’t take legal action soon, the consequences may be disastrous.
With the number of lawsuits continuing to climb every day, the federal government is keeping a close watch on the proceedings. Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Dan Polster told the attorneys in charge of many of the lawsuits that other branches of the government have not properly addressed the “100 percent manmade” opioid crisis.
During a hearing, Polster said the following:
“In my humble opinion, everyone shares some of the responsibility, and no one has done enough to abate it. That includes the manufacturers, the distributors, the pharmacies, the doctors, the federal government and state government, local governments, hospitals, third-party payers and individuals. Just about everyone we’ve got on both sides of the equation in this case.”
Polster stated that his goal was to expedite the proceedings as quickly as possible to stop Americans from dying to opioid overdoses. His goal sounds rather simple, but will be more challenging to follow through with: “What we’ve got to do is dramatically reduce the number of the pills that are out there and make sure that the pills that are out there are being used properly.”
To complete this goal, he aims to push the lawsuits to settlement as soon as possible.
As we can see here, lawsuits sometimes speak louder than words and can inspire action. If you or someone you love has suffered due to prescription opioid painkiller dependence or feel dependence may have caused a newborn child to suffer from birth defects, get in touch with Thomas Law Offices today. It’s not too late to get involved in the Kentucky opioid lawsuit proceedings.