About 50 people die from overdoses involving prescription opioids each day in the U.S. In recent years, local governments and states have begun to fight back against the epidemic, aiming to hold manufacturers and distributors accountable for their role in promoting the use of these highly addictive drugs. The early hours of this morning brought a major victory in what would have been the first federal trial related to an opioid crisis. Two Ohio counties reached a settlement of $260 million with Teva Pharmaceutical and drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson.
The official settlement amount was announced later today. U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster, who presides over the consolidated lawsuits, had encouraged a settlement, rather than a trial, in order to get the funds to affected communities faster.
The lawsuits allege that manufacturers overstated the benefits and downplayed the risks of opioid drugs, which include prescription pain relievers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. The plaintiffs also argue that drug distributors failed to properly monitor suspicious prescription orders. Last year, Judge Polster approved a 22-member plaintiffs’ leadership team, which includes legal all-stars like Ellen Relkin, Elizabeth Cabraser, and Erin Dickinson. Congratulations to the plaintiffs and their attorneys on this historic win.
Our team at Milestone works with many plaintiffs who rely on medications to mitigate the pain of their injuries. Those who take prescription opioids face a dangerous risk. Addiction can turn life upside-down in many ways, even come settlement time. Planning becomes more complex, as making the right choices for a substantial financial recovery can be exceptionally difficult when someone is struggling with addictive behaviors.
If you or your loved one is facing opioid addiction, do not hesitate in seeking the help of a local, trained professional. If your case or a loved one’s case is settling and you are concerned about the disbursement of the settlement money, feel free to call us at (716) 883-1833 for a no-obligation conversation. There are many strategies and plans we can discuss that would ensure responsible use of the funds now and in the future.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).