Another proposed class action filed on behalf of children born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome accuses a group of pharmaceutical companies and distributors of contributing to the 'opioid epidemic' that has swept across the state of Louisiana.
Another proposed class action has been filed in Louisiana against pharmaceutical companies and distributors over their alleged contribution to the “opioid epidemic” that has been labeled “the largest health care crisis in U.S. history.” The lawsuit alleges the defendants have “flooded [Louisiana] with prescription opioids,” exposing residents to an increased risk of abuse and addiction. In particular, the suit argues that the companies’ marketing and distribution of their opioid products have caused thousands of children to be born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) because their mothers “were sold, purchased, and consumed opioids” during their pregnancies.
The plaintiff filed suit on behalf of his infant son who was born with NAS and endures “great suffering and continuing developmental issues” that will require years of treatment, the case says. The child’s mother was allegedly injured in a car accident for which she was prescribed opioids to treat her pain. The suit claims the woman became addicted to the drugs at some point before her pregnancy, causing her son to be born with NAS.
According to the complaint, the pharmaceutical company defendants “used direct marketing, as well as veiled advertising by seemingly independent third parties to spread false and deceptive statements about the risks and benefits of long-term opioid use.” Before their efforts, the suit posits, opioids were only prescribed for short-term pain treatment due to the high risk of addiction and abuse associated with the drugs. The defendants, however, began a deceptive marketing campaign that underplayed the risks of opioids and attempted to convince healthcare providers to prescribe their products for chronic, long-term use, the case attests. The statements backing their claims, according to the complaint, were “unsupported by and contrary to scientific evidence” and preyed on “susceptible prescribers and vulnerable patient populations.”
The suit then accuses the distributor defendants of neglecting their duty to control the opioid supply chain and, among other potential infractions, choosing to fill “suspicious orders” instead of reporting them.
The case, originally filed in state court in February 2018, has since been removed to Louisiana federal court.