Clark, Love & Hutson, GP

Texas sues Purdue Pharma over opioid misrepresentations

Our nation is caught in the grip of an opioid epidemic, and the state of Texas is no exception. In 2017, a health care consulting company, Castlight Health, ranked the leading 25 cities in the United States in opioid abuse. Two of these cities were in Texas -- Longview and Texarkana.

Many people who become addicted to opioid drugs such as Oxycontin and Vicodin were initially legally prescribed them. Later on, as they became addicted, some would move on to harder drugs, including heroin. According to one report, 175 individuals lose their lives every day due to overdosing on opioid drugs.

Earlier in May, seven states including Texas sued Purdue Pharma, which manufactures the opioid drug OxyContin. OxyContin is used to treat pain. The plaintiffs are claiming that the defendant misrepresented how addictive and risky this medication was all while exaggerating the benefits of OxyContin. This, in turn, may have caused many individuals to become addicted to opiates and suffer the oftentimes disastrous consequences oftentimes associated with addiction.

It remains to be seen how this lawsuit will unfold. It is important, however, that companies that manufacture and sell dangerous drugs are held accountable if they misrepresent the risks and benefits their drugs pose. Tragically, drug companies may overlook safety concerns in order to make a profit.

In situations like this, the case isn't brought against the prescribing doctor. The doctor was just as misled as the patients were. Instead, it is the drug companies making these misrepresentations that need to be held responsible through dangerous drug litigation. Sometimes a lawsuit is the only way to bring the situation to the attention of the public while holding drug companies accountable for the damages they caused to so many people.

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