In early February, a 65 page lawsuit was filed by Alabama, alleging one of the largest pain pill manufacturers was intentionally marketing drugs that have led to the opioid epidemic. The Alabama attorney general, Steve Marshall, hired two personal injury law firms to take on big pharma in this war on opioid addiction. Purdue Pharma, L.P. and its branches are the target of this lawsuit.
Purdue, one of the largest opioid manufacturers in the country, as denied all allegations made, saying it was also troubled by the crisis. They claim to be seeking specific steps to be part of the solution to the epidemic. The lawsuit alleges that the company had violated a state law against deceptive marketing, creating a drug-related public nuisance.
“The opioid epidemic has devastated Alabama families, leaving a trail of addiction and death winding though every community of this state,” Marshall said in the news release. “Alabama ranks first in the nation for the number of painkiller prescriptions per capita. As a result, it is estimated that almost 30,000 of our residents over age 17 are dependent upon heroin and prescription painkillers. Alabama’s drug overdose death rate skyrocketed by 82 percent from 2006 to 2014 and it is believed that many of those deaths were from opioid painkillers and heroin.”
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, roughly 11.5 million Americans ages 12 and up misused prescription pain medication in 2016 alone. This crisis is happening all over the country, and Alabama is deciding to take a stand. Marshall added to his statement that is takes years to undo the damaging effects this epidemic has had on the nation, but filing the lawsuit is an important first step in making a difference.
The lawsuit seeks financial damages of the opioid crisis, including costs for medical care that has been provided, therapeutic treatment, and care for patients suffering from opioid-related addiction and/or diseases, such as overdose and death.