In the now two-decade-long opioid epidemic in the U.S., pharmaceutical opioid manufacturers, pharmacies, and doctors have all come under fire for the role they played in the surge of opioid addiction and death. One group, previously unnoticed and only just now coming under investigation, bears mentioning. As reports have shown, pharmaceutical distributors had just as critical a role in the opioid epidemic as other bad actors.
The Sackler Family and Purdue Pharmaceuticals deny any responsibility for the role they played in creating the opioid addiction epidemic. And while the most recent litigation against Purdue/the Sackler family ended in immunity for them and an abdication of responsibility, it wasn't too long ago that Purdue was pleading guilty to federal felony charges relating to the opioid crisis.
Several major pharma litigations are currently making their way through U.S. courts. One such case just came to a close, unfortunately releasing several pharma giants from all legal liability regarding their role in the devastating opioid epidemic.
New Developments in the Sackler Case Suggest More Needs to be Done to Hold Pharma Magnates Accountable
In the late-1990s and early-2000s, pharmaceutical manufacturers like Purdue Pharma aggressively marketed addictive drugs such as OxyContin, pushing doctors to prescribe them. Today, though it’s known that these companies helped create America’s opioid epidemic, the owners of the companies appear poised to escape accountability.
The litigation of Purdue Pharma/the Sacklers is now over. One of the key aspects of the case that deserves full scrutiny is that Purdue’s owners threatened to withdraw settlement funds if they did not achieve personal immunity. In the end, they won.
Forty-seven U.S. States have filed lawsuits against Purdue Pharma, requesting a total of $2.2 trillion dollars as compensation for Purdue’s contributions to the opioid epidemic. Is this a fair number?
The maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, has agreed to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges for its role in creating and advancing the nation's opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, this does not even come close to holding Purdue accountable for the damage it caused.
Oklahoma's lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson revealed the role this company played in encouraging the too-liberal use of opioid painkillers. Witness testimony also pointed to the special way this company profited from increased prescribing – of their own drugs or even drugs from other companies.
An October 2019 article in USA Today focused on how critical it is that opioid lawsuit settlement dollars are used to treat addiction. This should be a given, to use settlements from pharma companies to treat addicts (especially considering that many addicts would not be addicts were it not for prescription painkillers).
There’s something special and even a little energizing when the bad guy finally gets caught. When the underdog hero somehow manages to win against insurmountable odds.