Lawsuits alleging that drug manufacturers fueled the opioid epidemic with easy access to highly addictive pain killers have been consolidated in Ohio.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuits asked the court to consolidate the opioid lawsuits to avoid duplicative discovery and avoid inconsistent rulings. Currently, there are more than 60 lawsuits pending in federal courts against various drug manufacturers over the opioid crisis.
The plaintiffs contend that the manufacturers and distributors of opioid-based pain killers are responsible for nationwide addiction, increased law enforcement, and even deaths from overdoses.
The opioid lawsuits allege that drug manufacturers aggressively marketed the narcotic painkillers, leading to a nation of addicts now termed an epidemic.
Drug manufacturers and distributors hit with opioid lawsuits include:
- McKesson Corporation
- AmerisourceBergen Corporation
- Cardinal Health Inc.
Some of the drug manufactures hit with opioid lawsuits opposed centralizing the litigation, but the judges rejected their arguments noting that the question common to all of the lawsuits concerns “the widespread diversion of prescription opiates into states, counties and cities across the nation.”
The opioid lawsuits will be consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) that will be heard by one judge in the Northern District of Ohio.
“After considering the argument of counsel, we find that the actions in this litigation involve common questions of fact, and that centralization in the Northern District of Ohio will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation,” noted the judicial panel in their order.
“Both manufacturers and distributors are under an obligation under the Controlled Substances Act and similar state laws to prevent diversion of opiates and other controlled substances into illicit channels. Plaintiffs assert that defendants have failed to adhere to those standards, which caused the diversion of opiates into their communities.”
According to recent research, opioid drug overdoses killed more than a half a million people over a six year period, between 1999 and 2015 – more than car crashes and gun homicides combined.
Opioid lawsuits allege that drug manufacturers disregarded public safety in the name of profit when pushing these highly addictive powerful pain killers.
Currently, America leads the word in opioid use and 90 people a day die from overdoses each day in the country.
Recent studies also show that fentanyl in particular leads to the majority of drug overdoses and deaths.
Additionally, opioids, including Percocet, OxyContin, and heroin were linked to well over half of all drug overdoses in 2015.
Local governments are turning to opioid lawsuits to try and force drug manufacturers to cover the costs of law enforcement due to the opioid crisis. According to recent reports, opioid epidemic costs are up to $78.5 billion each year.
Additionally, “pill mills” or medical facilities who provide easy access to prescriptions for opioids have also been hit with civil and criminal charges.
The Ohio Opioid Lawsuits are In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL No. 2804, in the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.
The attorneys at McDonald Worley are investigating opioid lawsuits. Call today for a free case evaluation.