Since 2000, overdose deaths from prescription opioid painkillers have risen dramatically, with more than 14,000 deaths in 2014 attributed to prescription painkiller overdose. Three commonly prescribed opioid medications are Vicodin, OxyContin, and morphine.
The United States is currently suffering one of the worst drug epidemics we have seen. More kids are currently dying from opioid overdose is then those that died during the HIV epidemic. But that fact doesn’t appear to bother pharmaceutical companies. They lack empathy from the harm that its legal drugs are causing is also well-known. But that may be about to change. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is giving these companies cause to be concerned with a major lawsuit.
“It’s time for Big Pharma to pay for what they’ve done,” he said — an echo from two weeks earlier where he spoke of “big oil” during a news conference on the climate change lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, Mayor de Blasio is holding Big Pharma directly responsible for fueling the Opioid crisis, according to New York Times reports. This isn’t the first time that de Blasio is taking legal action against an entire industry, since he is also suing Big Oil for its huge role in making climate change the global threat that it is today while sitting on facts.
In any case, the legal document pins many of the underlying problems that allowed the Opioid crisis to grow as much as it had on the companies making these drugs. Among the accusations that the lawsuit makes is the misrepresentation of these products as well as encouraging distributors to absolutely flood target cities with opioids.
The companies named in the lawsuit include the following: Johnson & Johnson, Allergan, Cephalon, Purdue Pharma, Watson , Endo, Teva, and Janssen, which is a combination of both manufacturers and distributors. This isn’t the first time that a city actually sued entire industries over the harm that they caused with their products.
Back in the 90s, the tobacco industry was forced to make changes to how it markets its products following the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. If the NYC and other cities’ lawsuits pan out, the same changes could be seen in the pharmaceutical industry.
Watch this video to learn more: