Class action lawsuits filed in eight states against opioid manufacturers and distributors over nationwide opioid epidemic

by Charles Miller

A group of manufacturers and distributors of opioid painkillers – including Purdue Pharma and McKesson – have been hit with class action lawsuits in eight states over their role in the nationwide opioid epidemic. The lawsuits allege that actions by manufacturers and distributors named in the suit helped drive up insurance premiums as a result of actions that contributed to the opioid crisis.

According to the proposed class action lawsuits filed in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas, manufacturers and distributors of opioid painkillers downplayed the risks of addiction associated with these drugs and failed to report large opioid orders. The lawsuits allege that these actions directly contributed to the nationwide opioid epidemic, causing an increase in insurance costs.

Attorneys who filed the class action claims against opioid manufacturers and distributors said that the cases were the first to directly address nationwide increases in insurance costs that have resulted from the opioid epidemic. As a result of the drug crisis, the attorneys allege that individuals, small businesses, and large corporations across the country have been saddled with higher insurance premiums resulting from pharmaceutical companies and drug distributors whose actions contributed to the crisis.

One estimate cited in the lawsuits found that private insurance claims involving opioid painkillers increased by 3200 percent between 2007 and 2014. Between 2011 and 2015, charges for patients who had been diagnosed with opioid abuse or dependency increased by 1000 percent. Together, these increases in claims led insurers to increase the rates they charged customers, the lawsuits allege.

Over the last two decades, the increased prescription of opioid painkillers has resulted in an epidemic of addiction, drug abuse, and overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid overdoses caused more deaths in 2016 than firearms, with tens of thousands of fatal overdoses occurring each year.

Although federal and state health officials have taken steps in recent years to reduce supplies of opioid painkillers in the U.S., the number of deaths caused by these drugs has continued to soar. Many patients who abused prescription painkillers have switched to illegal narcotics like heroin or fentanyl as a result of the reduced availability of prescription painkillers. Over the last two years, deaths caused by fentanyl overdoses have caused the life expectancy of Americans to fall for the first time in decades.

Opioid Overdose Lawsuits Filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson

The nationwide opioid epidemic has resulted in tens of thousands of overdose deaths across the U.S., as well as countless cases of addiction, abuse, and dependency caused by the overprescription of painkillers. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and prescribers on behalf of families who have lost a loved one to an overdose caused by prescription painkillers.

If you have lost a loved one to an opioid overdose, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the drug, its distributor, or the doctor or hospital who prescribed the medication. The first step in taking legal action is to consult with an attorney who has the experience in opioid litigation to advise you of your rights and guide you through the steps in filing a claim.

For more information about whether you may qualify to file an opioid lawsuit, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free opioids case evaluation form and answering a few brief questions to get started.


Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Results of other cases do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.