Another proposed class action filed on behalf of a minor child diagnosed with NAS has been added to the multidistrict litigation involving pharmaceutical companies’ and distributors’ alleged contributions to the country’s growing 'opioid epidemic.'
Another proposed class action has been added to the multidistrict litigation involving pharmaceutical companies’ and distributors’ alleged contributions to the country’s growing “opioid epidemic.” The case claims the defendants’ misconduct has resulted in “the largest health care crisis in U.S. history” and, more specifically, has caused “thousands of infants great suffering and continuing developmental issues.” This suit, originally filed in Missouri and removed to Ohio federal court, was brought on behalf of a child who was born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) – a condition most commonly associated with opioid use during pregnancy. The lawsuit argues that the defendants’ misrepresentations and negligence regarding their opioid products have caused “a dramatic rise in the proportion of infants who have been exposed to opioids,” and, consequently, the negative effects of such drugs. According to the complaint, the minor plaintiff “will require years of treatment and counseling” because of the defendants’ alleged conduct.
The lawsuit then delves into allegations against the pharmaceutical company defendants, claiming they deceptively urged healthcare professionals to prescribe opioids for treatment of chronic pain while downplaying the risks of long-term use.
“These Defendants used direct marketing, as well as veiled advertising by seemingly independent third parties to spread misrepresentations about the risks and benefits of long-term opioid use – statements that created the ‘new’ market for prescription opioids, upended the standard medical practice, and benefited other Defendants and opioid manufacturers,” the complaint alleges.
Further, the case argues that the companies’ assurances were unsupported by scientific evidence and contradicted previous guidance regarding long-term opioid use. The result, according to the complaint, was a significant rise in opioid prescriptions, exposing millions to the risk of abuse, including the plaintiff’s mother.
The suit then points a finger at the distributor defendants, accusing them of allowing a “suspicious” amount of opioid orders to flood through the country without reporting possible issues. The complaint argues that distributors “woefully failed” their duty to serve as a “check” in the system by “consciously ignoring known or knowable problems and data in their supply chains.”
“The NAS epidemic and its consequences could have been, and should have been, prevented by the Defendants who control the U.S. drug distribution industry and the Defendants who manufacture the prescription opioids,” the lawsuit concludes, adding that the companies have “profited greatly” from the “flood” of opioid use while subjecting infants and children to the devastating consequences.