Opioid manufacturers face Arkansas class action over painkillers marketing

by Jim Orr

Several opioid manufacturers are facing a class action lawsuit in Arkansas over the sale and marketing of prescription painkillers in the U.S. The lawsuit – filed against Actavis, Endo, Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma, Teva, and several subsidiaries – alleges that the drugmakers deliberately fed the U.S. opioid epidemic in order to increase their own profits.

According to the lawsuit, Actavis, Endo, Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma, and Teva encouraged doctors to prescribe higher quantities of opioid medications to patients. The lawsuit alleges that the drugmakers downplayed the risk of addiction and other complications associated with opioid medications, despite the millions of patients across the U.S. that are addicted to or dependent on these medications.

The class action lawsuit against the five opioid manufacturers and their subsidiaries was filed by Michael Ray Lewis, an Arkansas resident who was treated for opioid addiction. Lewis alleges that he became addicted to opioid drugs after being prescribed hydrocodone, oxycodone, and Percocet by a doctor in 2005.

Class Action Allegations Against Opioid Manufacturers

Lewis alleges that in order to conceal their marketing of opioid medications, the drugmakers paid for a direct marketing campaign to physicians and hired marketers who downplayed the addiction risks associated with opioids. The lawsuit also claims that the drugmakers paid doctors to sit on their advisory boards, which encouraged them to falsely believe that opioids carried limited addiction risks.

Lewis’s lawsuit against the opioid manufacturers would include two classes of patients who were prescribed opioid painkillers manufactured by Actavis, Endo, Johnson & Johnson, Purdue, or Teva between 2012 and 2017. The first class would include patients who underwent medical treatment for opioid addiction as a result of their prescriptions. The second class would include patients who were only prescribed the drugs and did not suffer from addiction problems.

In addition to the class action lawsuit filed in Arkansas, the five opioid manufacturers are also facing lawsuits filed by attorney generals in several states, cities, and counties. Actavis, Endo, Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma, and Teva are currently facing lawsuits for their marketing of opioid painkillers filed in Ohio, Suffolk County in New York, and Chicago, among other jurisdictions.

Recent Studies Highlight Extent of U.S. Opioid Epidemic

Over the last 20 years, the aggressive marketing of opioid painkillers by the pharmaceutical industry have led to an epidemic of addiction and overdoses caused by opioid drugs. Several recent studies have highlighted the extent of the opioid crisis in the U.S.

According to research published earlier this year, the rate of opioid addiction in the U.S. has climbed by 500% over the last seven years, despite efforts be federal and state health officials to curb the nationwide opioid epidemic. The study also found that patients were more likely to become addicted to opioid medications when their doctors prescribed these medications in higher doses or over a longer period of time.

Another study revealed that the CDC’s estimates about the number of patients killed by opioid painkillers significantly underestimated the number of Americans killed by these drugs. Researchers found that thousands more Americans are killed each year by opioid overdoses than the roughly 28,000 per year that was estimated by the CDC.

Lawsuit Filed Against Opioid Painkiller Manufacturers

If you have lost a loved one to an opioid overdose, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the drug’s manufacturer or the doctor or hospital who prescribed the drug. The first step in taking legal action is to speak with an attorney to advise you of your legal rights and explain the first steps in filing a lawsuit.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of opioid overdose victims and their families. Our firm has filed more lawsuits involving the fentanyl pain patch than all other law firms in the U.S. – combined.

Our lawyers have also filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of victims who were harmed by complications from other opioid medications, including victims of a combined drug overdose caused by the interaction of opioids with other CNS depressant medications. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we are committed to helping patients and their families who have been harmed by prescription painkillers or the indiscriminate opioid prescribing practices of many doctors.

For more information about filing an opioid overdose lawsuit and to find out whether you may qualify to file a case, 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 case evaluation form and answering a few brief questions to get started.