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Opioid Crisis Accountability Becomes Reality in Oklahoma Court

| Aug 30, 2019 | Drug Safety

The opioid crisis is an epidemic that has reached nearly every corner or the United States. From the east to the west, in rural and urban areas, opioid addiction is a major issue. In the communities that are affected, every person can name someone they know who has suffered because of the effects of prescription opioid drugs and illegal narcotics like heroin. The manufacturers of those prescription opioids, such as Purdue Pharma and their drug OxyContin, have been identified for their fault in the proliferation of the highly-addictive (and highly-profitable) substances across America. Drug companies falsely represented opioids as safer than they truly are, encouraged their prescription (often unnecessarily, or in high volumes), and supplied pharmacies with a number of pills that well exceeded demand. Through these tactics, pharmaceutical businesses were able to get thousands of people hooked on opioids and collect the financial benefits of their addictions. As reported in The Guardian, Johnson & Johnson was sued for $17 billion by the state of Oklahoma. In late August of 2019, the court reached a decision that the drug manufacturer is ordered to pay $572 to compensate for its liability in the opioid crisis in Oklahoma communities. Although the verdict is a fraction of the initially calculated impact, the victory symbolizes accountability for the businesses liable for rampant addiction and death. For the first time, a state sued an opioid manufacturer for the damage they caused, and was successful.

Developments Across the Country

A federal case against several drug manufacturers is in development, with the hopes of securing an all-encompassing victory for the communities that have been most severely impacted by the opioid crisis. The plaintiffs in the federal litigation include a multitude of states, cities, and counties working as one. The trial is expected to occur in October, however, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is hoping to delay that set date. According to ABC News 5 Cleveland, Yost petitioned for a delay of the trial with the goal of the entire state eventually being included in the litigation. Currently, Ohio’s Cuyahoga and Summit counties are involved in the federal trial proceedings, and do not wish to delay the action. The nationwide attempts to hold opioid manufacturers accountable, and the success in Oklahoma, signify a turn in a crisis that has impacted communities for decades. Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. is joining the fight against drug companies by representing the victims of their negligence. Schedule a free consultation with our attorneys if you have a case — call (419) 719-5195 or use our message form to reach us.