(Mirror Daily, United States) – Healing America’s opioid epidemic will come at a hefty price and many are wondering who will foot the bill for the astronomical medical costs and productivity losses.
If states win in court, not only American taxpayers and insurance companies will pay the tab. Pharmaceutical companies and distributors will have to pay their fair share of reparations.
Cities nationwide are starting to sue the Big pharma over the rampant opioid addiction crisis affecting their residents. Around 2 million Americans are addicted to opioid-based painkillers that were prescribed by their doctors. An extra half million is hooked on heroin, as opioid addiction usually paves the way to heroin abuse.
The town of Greenfield, Mass, has also sued opioid producers and distributors looking for financial compensations for the local opioid epidemic. According to the lawsuit, Big Pharma and suppliers paid little attention to the way their products can lead to abuse or overuse.
Greenfield Battling Its Own Opioid Epidemic
The town cites a 1970 federal law that requires manufacturers to halt distribution when they suspect the drugs may be put to illegitimate uses. Greenfield Mayor William Martin said he expects the suit to help the municipality offset the costs of the opioid epidemic and raise awareness of the size of the problem within the town’s limits.
“We wouldn’t have this situation if we didn’t have lax monitoring of opioids,” the mayor said.
Greenfield sued multiple defendants including Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma, and Teva Pharmaceuticals. A spokesperson for Purdue said the company remains “dedicated to being part of the solution,” but denied “vigorously” Greenfield’s allegations.
The case is very similar to those in the early nineties against the Big Tobacco, which brought states billions of dollars in damages. If states and municipalities win, the compensation could help offset the costs of treating addiction and recovery.
However, the courts need to rule first that drug makers and advertisers have purportedly downplayed the risks and addictive nature of opioid painkillers.
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