LAFAYETTE, Louisiana. According to The Fix, Purdue Pharma paid $634.5 million for misbranding OxyContin. The company has come under fire for its role in the prescription painkiller epidemic. According to the New York Times, approximately 64,000 people died as a result of drug overdoses in 2016 alone. These numbers don’t take into account the number of people who have been hospitalized or injured due to their drug overdose. These are ordinary Americans, people who survived car accidents or surgeries, only to find themselves facing a serious addiction.
However, recent reports have shed light on how this crisis has become so serious. It appears that drug companies, along with insurance companies, have both contributed to the increases in prescriptions of these drugs. While prescribing doctors have come under fire, with some facing lawsuits or charges, the role that drug companies and insurance play in the crisis should also be noted.
For example, according to The Fix, a drug company that makes OxyContin reportedly sent a letter to the White House’s opioid commission. The company reportedly suggested guidelines for safe prescribing of the drugs. Other drug companies that sell opioid reversals suggested that more first-responders be required to have the drugs that they make on hand. While there are clear conflicts of interest present in some of these suggestions, it isn’t clear how they will be handled.
Insurance companies may also be contributing to the problem. For example, in cases where patients could use painkillers that were known to be less addictive, insurers sometimes forced consumers to use the riskier and more addictive options. The less addictive options were more expensive and therefore not covered by some policies, while the more addictive options were less expensive and covered. The New York Times found that riskier opioids didn’t require approval from the insurance while safer painkillers required approval. In fact, the New York Times found that in some cases, insurers made it more difficult for patients to access addiction treatment pharmaceuticals than they did for patients to access the dangerous painkillers in the first place. In fact, when patients are denied access to safer, but more expensive painkillers, they may find themselves with no choice but to use the more addictive painkillers first.
Do patients and their loved ones have a right to sue their doctor, pharmacist, insurance company, or a drug company if they feel that they have been injured due to these addictive drugs? Individuals may have the right to pursue a lawsuit if the drug company failed to provide proper warnings about the addictive nature of the drugs. And, in some cases, companies have been held accountable when they failed to provide consumers with proper warnings. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a prescription drug, consider contacting the personal injury lawyers at SmithStage in New Orleans. . Our form works closely with families and victims to help them see the justice they may deserve under the law. Visit us at www.smithstag.com to learn more.