A major settlement has been reached in a case we have been following that will resolve thousands of opioid cases across the country. Fifteen states have reached an agreement with Purdue Pharma and its Sackler family owners, requiring them to pay $4.5 billion for their role in the opioid crisis.
Along with payment, the agreement bans the Sacklers from the opioid business, requires Purdue to make public 33 million documents, and orders the company to stop operating or be sold by 2024.
This settlement comes after years of legal disputes between states and the prescription painkiller manufacturer to hold them accountable for their part in the opioid crisis. Over the past twenty years, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. have died from overdoses of legal and illegal opioids.
Earlier this year, Florida was included in a $573 million settlement against McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting company involved in accelerating the sale of Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin. Florida will receive $40 million from that settlement to help bring monetary assistance to communities fighting opioid addiction problems and overdoses.
There are more lawsuits currently underway filed by local and state governments against other opioid manufacturers and prescription drug distributors. Florida’s lawsuit against drug-store chains and the pharmaceutical industry over the opioid epidemic will head to trial in April 2022.
Florida’s Opioid Crisis Worsened During Pandemic
From March to June 2020, about 2,530 people statewide died from drug overdoses, up from 1,586 during the same four months in 2019, a 59% increase, according to public health experts.
There were 481 COVID deaths among Floridians ages 25-44 in 2020 compared to 2,638 drug overdose deaths among Floridians in the same age range during the first nine months of 2020, according to Project Opioid.
According to public health experts, the stress and isolation associated with the pandemic played a major role in an increase in drug consumption among people who were already addicted to painkillers. In addition, a rise in access to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid up to 100 times more potent than morphine, has become more prevalent in illegal drug use. All of these factors have led to many Florida communities experiencing between a 50% to 80% increase in overdose deaths in 2020.
Fighting Against Dangerous Products
Product liability holds manufacturers and sellers accountable for placing a defective or harmful product into the hands of consumers. It is the producer’s responsibility to warn consumers if there is a danger associated with their product. Sometimes, product liability cases can arise even when the danger is unknown.
Product liability negligence cases arise when a person or group of people have been injured due to a defective product and a manufacturer or seller failed to exhibit mindful care. These claims are complex and require a skilled and experienced team.
The lawyers at Panter, Panter & Sampedro have decades of experience fighting for Florida’s families. We offer free consultations to help you determine if legal action is the best avenue for your situation. Call our team to talk about your case today at (305) 662-6178.
Hoffman (2021, July 8). 15 States Reach a Deal With Purdue Pharma, Advancing a $4.5 Billion Opioids Settlement. Retrieved from: https://nytimes.com/2021/07/08/health/purdue-pharma-opioids-settlement.html
Martinez (2021, March 29) Florida’s opioid crisis has intensified amid the pandemic. Retrieved from: https://floridatrend.com/article/30930/floridas-opioid-crisis-has-intensified-amid-the-pandemic
News Service of Florida (2020, July 16) State trial over Florida opioid epidemic set for … 2022. Retrieved from: https://tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2020/07/16/state-trial-over-florida-opioid-epidemic-set-for-2022/