Major opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma L.P., was hit with a lawsuit by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on behalf of the State of Alabama alleging the drug company is fueling the nation’s opioid epidemic, causing unnecessary deaths as well as millions of dollars in economic damages to the state.
“Alabama’s opioid crisis has been, and is still being, fueled by pharmaceutical manufacturer Purdue, which has deceptively and illegally marketed opioids in order to generate billions of dollars in sales,” said Beasley Allen lawyer Rhon E. Jones, head of the firm’s Toxic Torts Section and acting Deputy Attorney General in this case. “Purdue primarily manufactures and sells opioids, and is misrepresenting the risks of these highly addictive painkillers, plainly putting profits over people. The rampant use and abuse of opioids is devastating to both the citizens of and the State of Alabama.”
Purdue makes several brand-name and generic opioids, including OxyContin, which makes up about 30 percent of the entire market of the powerful painkillers. The drugs are promoted for chronic non-cancer pain, a dangerous method considering the drugs are highly addictive. Prescription opioids are one of the driving forces behind the opioid epidemic, and the cause of fatal opioid overdoses.
In 2015, 282 people died from opioid overdoses in Alabama, a sharp increase from previous years. And the situation is getting worse. Not only does illegal marketing of opioids take lives, it also results in economic damages including costs for providing medical care, therapeutic care and treatment for residents suffering from opioid addiction, including overdoses and deaths; costs for providing counseling and rehabilitation services; costs for treating infants born with opioid-related medical conditions; public safety and law enforcement expenses; and care for children whose parents suffer from disability or incapacitation from their addiction to drugs.
Late last year, similar lawsuits against opioid makers were filed by Beasley Allen’s Jones on behalf of Houston County, Alabama and the City of Greenville in Alabama.