Should pharmaceutical companies be held legally responsible for America’s opioid epidemic?
Palm Beach County, Florida, is looking into suing the makers of prescription painkillers that have been widely abused, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Suing drug makers for the opioid crisis
The opioid crisis is affecting the county’s families and finances. Palm Beach has added law enforcement, EMS workers and health care resources to tackle the problem. Litigation could potentially help the county recoup those costs.
Across the country, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that $55 billion in health and social costs are related to prescription opioid abuse every year.
Before any legal action is taken in Palm Beach, county officials will look into whether drug makers have been successfully sued elsewhere.
There are a number of lawsuits that have recently been filed. Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio have sued drug manufacturers, as well as counties in Illinois, New York and West Virginia.
These lawsuits accuse pharmaceutical companies of misleading marketing of prescription painkillers that played down the serious risks of addiction and overdose.
According to HHS, more people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record, and the majority of drug overdose deaths involved an opioid.
There has also been an uptick in heroin-involved deaths and deaths involving synthetic opioids.
Read more: 14 ways to save on prescription drugs