Flint, Michigan is the latest city to take action against drug manufacturers in response to its opioid abuse epidemic. The city is one of many seeking damages for the abuse occurring across the country.
The number of opioid medications prescribed by doctors has soared over the last 20 years – some estimates claim prescriptions have quadrupled over the course of two decades. Most believe this is directly linked to the increase in the number of opioid-related deaths during that same time period.
As a result of the opioid problem in the country, some cities and states are taking legal action against the manufacturers of these drugs, as well as others involved in distributing the drugs to the community.
Drug addiction takes its toll on communities, both financially and emotionally. The lawsuits, filed against doctors, pharmacists, and drug manufacturers and wholesalers, claim that patients were exploited, risks were withheld, and medications were prescribed unnecessarily.
Opioid drugs are used for treating pain. The most commonly prescribed opioids include:
These drugs induce a feeling of well-being and pleasure, in addition to reducing the pain a user feels. They are highly addictive and approximately a quarter of patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain develop an addiction.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately two million Americans had abused or were addicted to prescription opioids in 2014.
Cities Take Legal Action
In November 2018, Kansas City filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharmaceuticals and other opioid manufacturers. Officials claim that nearly 600 per every 1000 residents of the city have been prescribed opioids. Many attribute the high numbers to deceptive advertising practices that neglected to explain the risks associated with opioids.
Kansas City officials are seeking compensation for money the city had to spend to fight against opioid abuse. The city also claims to have incurred costs to combat the public nuisance created by the opioid crisis.
There are more than a dozen other cities and counties in Kansas and Missouri, as well as more than 400 state and local governments nationwide that have filed similar lawsuits. This includes the city of Flint, Michigan, the latest city to join the effort against opioid manufacturers.
Flint Files Lawsuit against More than a Dozen Drug Companies
Mayor Karen Weaver announced recently her city of Flint, Michigan has taken legal action against more than a dozen drug companies as a result of the city’s opioid problem.
According to Weaver, “… we are not going to stand idly by and let another crisis overtake our city.”
City officials point to the “significant cost” the city has incurred responding to the crisis in recent years and believe that drug companies have “fueled the crisis” by flooding the city with prescription painkillers and other drugs.
Weaver pointed out that financial costs were not the only issue involved in the lawsuit. The community, like many others dealing with the opioid crisis, has also seen a rise in drug overdoses, addiction, crime, and fatalities as a result of drug use. The problem is putting a strain on city resources and is wreaking havoc on the community.
Flint’s lawsuit claims drug companies failed to properly investigate suspicious prescriptions they and instead focused on profit alone. They are also accused of intentionally misleading the medical community and the public about the risks associated with their drugs.
Lawsuits filed against drug manufacturers typically seek compensation for the cost of:
- Drug treatment programs
- Medical care and hospitalizations
- Emergency medical transportation
- Law enforcement response and investigations
- Prosecutions and incarcerations
- Repair to damaged property