Things must be getting tense in Stamford CT, headquarters of Purdue Pharma. Reports indicate Purdue is working on a deal to resolve all state claims related to opioids.
Reports indicate Purdue’s owners, the Sackler family, have a net worth of around $14 billion.
Here’s what we’ve read so far about the legal situation:
- Purdue has reportedly approached several Attorneys General from southern states (that have not sued the company) to discuss a settlement.
- “Queen of torts” Sheila Birnbaum may have been retained by Purdue.
- About a dozen states and over a hundred counties and municipalities have sued Purdue; New Jersey’s one.
- “Along with Endo International, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, Teva Pharmaceutical and Allergan, Purdue Pharma is named in an opioid marketing investigation by attorneys general from 39 states.” (FiercePharma)
- A suit in Canada against Purdue was recently settled.
A couple of factoids to remind us of the cause and effect of Purdue’s strategy.
- Purdue’s marketing tactics were brilliant…”Purdue compiled profiles of physicians who prescribed opioids often and had the most chronic-pain patients. It targeted physicians in rural areas with poor patients in Appalachia, and from Maine to Mississippi.”
- About 8 million of us are on long-term opioid treatment for chronic pain – despite ample evidence that opioids are NOT appropriate for that condition.
So, what does this mean?
For workers’ comp payers, it is time to get together and develop a legal strategy and approach to suing opioid marketers. The human and financial damage caused by Purdue, Endo and their ilk is incalculable and continuing to grow. Without a successful legal action, employers and taxpayers will be footing the bills for decades to come.
There’s a deeper and even more troubling aspect to this. One could argue – and with a lot of supporting data – that pharma companies figured out a way to legally addict people and get their insurance companies to pay for their drugs.
There is no more damning indictment of the profit motive in the US healthcare system.
What does this mean for you?
Time to get moving.