Opioid Distributor Lawsuits

The Dugan law Firm is currently representing governmental agencies against wholesale distributors and manufacturers of opioids in order to recover the immense damages they have sustained as a result of these companies creating the current opioid epidemic. We only represent governments. We do not represent individuals impacted by the callous and fraudulent actions of these companies.

It is estimated that more than 55,000 Americans die each year from a drug overdose, which has become the leading cause of death of individuals under the age of 50. Sixty percent of these deaths are caused by opioids. The jump in fatalities over the past 15 years has been staggering, a more than three-times increase.

In addition to the devastating toll this epidemic is taking on the addicts, family and friends, the monetary cost to governmental agencies is in the tens of billions of dollars each year when considering public healthcare, treatment facilities, law enforcement, criminal justice and jail expenses.

The defendants often include companies such as McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, Purdue Pharma, Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), Endo International, Teva Pharmaceutical, Allergan (formerly Actavis), Watson Pharmaceuticals, and Covidien.

The complaints typically allege the wholesale distributors violated the federal Controlled Substances Act by failing to alert the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration of suspicious opioids purchases, such as orders of unusual size, frequency or pattern. The claims against the manufacturers are based on allegations the companies exaggerated the benefits of the medication and knew the drugs were being overly prescribed, yet failed to warn doctors of the extremely addictive nature of the narcotics and the need to strictly limit the dose.

The lawsuits also claim the pharmaceutical companies lobbied politicians and doctors in an effort to artificially increase the use of opioids, and willfully allowed the drugs to enter the black market. For example, in 2012, there were 793 million doses of opioids prescribed in Ohio, which is 60-times larger than the entire population of the state. In 2010, 254 million prescriptions for opioids were filled in the United States, which amount was capable of treating every adult in the country 24-hours a day for one month.

Government agencies are seeking reimbursement for some of the health and social costs related to opioid abuse, which is estimated to be in excess of $55 billion each year.

Specific damages being sought include:

  • Building and maintaining treatment facilities.
  • Reimbursement of Medicaid and other governmental expenses related to the treatment of addicts, including the payment for unnecessarily prescribed opioids, and the antidote to treat overdoses.
  • Reimbursement for added law enforcement and medical personnel to treat the opioid epidemic.
  • Reimbursement for costs of prosecutions and jails.