There has been a large number of lawsuits against drug makers linked to the opioid epidemic. It’s now been settled for $26 billion by a number of states who will pay out this money to help resolve many of these lawsuits.
Companies affected include McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and Johnson & Johnson. J&J may be more in the news for their COVID vaccine; however, they are also being held legally responsible for the addiction and overdoses of thousands of people in the opioid epidemic.
Dr. Siegel says COVID lockdowns led to more opioid overdoses https://t.co/HjpPeo8QMm
— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) July 16, 2021
When Will the Money Be Paid Out?
The money could be received by states who have settled their opioid lawsuits by early next year. The money will mainly go to drug safety programs, education, and more money will be for paramedics and drug treatment programs.
It could also be used by states to make a positive impact against their homeless crisis or to help babies who are born already addicted to opioids. Any money paid out has to address opioid-related issues and can’t be used to plug gaps in the budget in states.
So far, more than half a million people have died from opioids in the United States. There are more than 3,000 lawsuits against Big Pharma currently ongoing. The accusation in the cases is that pharmaceutical companies like J&J marketed and promoted their products as suitable outside the medically necessary definition.
In other words, they pushed dangerous pills at people; then, they told doctors the pills were good to prescribe for minor issues. In actuality, though, they knew the pills were highly addictive and only for very specific, intense forms of emergency pain relief.
The pandemic and lockdowns led to a big increase in opioid abuse and addiction. In fact, opioid overdoses went up 37% in 2020 compared to 2019. That’s a huge spike. Meanwhile, drug companies say they followed the rules.
Drug companies also claim that it’s not their fault if people choose to abuse a substance. However, many of them have found these ongoing lawsuits extremely time-consuming and difficult.
They are not really sure how to prove that they went through all the necessary steps or informed people properly. Therefore, many are now coming to the table and deciding that a settlement and payout could be the best option.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said that “there’s not enough money in the world” to actually help heal the pain people have experienced, but it’s still the first step.
Doesn’t it seem like some of the families and individuals who sued should get some money? Why should they not be compensated for their suffering instead of just paying this to bloated state governments to teach people about the danger of drugs?
4 years ago tomorrow, we lost my brother to opioid addiction. so while you go about your day tomm remember to call your parents and siblings to tell them you love them. if you’re struggling with addiction please get help because there are people who would be crushed without you.
— KT (@kt_marieee13) July 22, 2021
The Bottom Line
If this payout can help people get treatment get it who need it, then it’s obviously a good thing. Nonetheless, it only seems fair that some people who suffered individually or in their families from unfair pharmaceutical practices and medical malpractice get some money.
The amount of suffering the opioid epidemic has caused is almost unimaginable. If our media broadcast the stories of suffering and death from opioids half as much as they rant on about COVID, we would all be traumatized.
It’s time to give victims what they deserve: some help.