On September 18, 2019, 27 Florida hospitals filed a lawsuit against opioid distributors, manufacturers, and retailers. The companies involved include Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories and more than 30 other companies involved in creating or selling opioids.
Florida’s case follows similar opioid lawsuits that have taken place against pharmaceutical corporations within the last year. Most notably, the state of Ohio recently won a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma involving the prescription drug OxyContin. As a result, Purdue Pharma will pay around $3 billion in the coming years. In addition, the profits made from OxyContin sales will be placed into a trust designed to help communities affected by the opioid epidemic. Many expect the lawsuit’s outcome to bankrupt Purdue Pharma.
Ohio’s lawsuit shows that opioid manufacturers are being held responsible, and Florida’s case if won, may have an even bigger impact on the nationwide opioid epidemic. The two states provide similar reasons behind their lawsuits, stating that drug companies have essentially created America’s widespread opioid problems.
Details of the Complaint
According to the lawsuit, these drug companies have created unnecessary risks stemming from inaccurate information. Allegedly, the companies understated the risks of addiction tied to prescription opioids and used deceptive marketing so that health professionals would be more likely to write prescriptions.
Florida hospitals, in particular, have been burdened by the large numbers of opioid-related cases involving addiction, overdose, and death. Because of the misinformation spread by drug companies, the hospital plaintiffs are suing for negligence, fraud and civil conspiracy.
The Opioid Crisis in Florida
Though the opioid crisis has affected the entire nation, Florida has been especially hard-hit. Between 2006 and 2012, residents of Florida were prescribed 5.5 billion prescription opioids — or 35 pills per person. In 2017 alone, there were 5,088 opioid overdose deaths in the state of Florida.
Opioids have also caused more cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which occurs when pregnant mothers use opioids. Hospital costs for treating NAS have risen from $91 million to $563 million between 2004 and 2014. Additionally, the cost of treating an opioid overdose has risen by over $30,000 between 2009 and 2015.
Florida opioid statistics show that prescription opioids are placing unnecessary burdens upon patients, communities, and hospitals throughout the state. Many believe these lawsuits can help battle the opioid epidemic and reduce opioid-related problems in the future.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid use disorder, The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health can help. Contact us today to learn more about treatment plans and programs that can work well for your situation.
Conrad & Scherer. “Florida Hospitals File Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors.” PR Newswire, September 18, 2019. Accessed October 8, 2019.
Mann, Brian. “Purdue Pharma Reaches Tentative Deal To Settle Thousands Of Opioid Lawsuits.” NPR, September 11, 2019. Accessed October 8, 2019.
Maxwell, Scott. “5.5 billion pain pills. Florida has an opioid problem. Seminole tries to find solutions.” Orlando Sentinel, July 23, 2019. Accessed October 8, 2019.
amfAR. “Florida Opioid Epidemic.” Accessed October 8, 2019.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Florida Opioid Summary.” May 2019. Accessed October 8, 2019.
Kaiser Health News. “The Cost Of Treating An Opioid Overdose: $92,400.” August 11, 2017. Accessed October 8, 2019.