The largest opioid manufacturer in the United States, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, entered into a $1.6 billion settlement of thousands of lawsuits brought by state and local governments regarding its role in the opioid crisis. The settlement agreement was endorsed by 47 states and United States territories. A committee of lawyers representing cities and counties also approved of the settlement.
The settlement money will be used to underwrite the costs of opioid addiction treatment and other costs incurred for related efforts across the country. The opioid epidemic has inflicted enormous grief and loss on communities and, while the money can’t solve everything, it is seen as an important step towards recovery. It is also a way of holding accountable those who are responsible for the crisis.
Mallinckrodt is the first of the opioid companies to enter into a settlement agreement. Other defendants, such as Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and Johnson & Johnson, have made offers that have yet to be accepted by plaintiffs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 1999-2018, approximately 450,000 people have died from overdoses related to opioids. The number of drug overdoses was four times higher in 2018 than it was in 1999. As a result, states and other municipalities have sought corporate accountability through various lawsuits.
Not all states have accepted the settlement agreement. New York is one of a few states that have not confirmed that they will be part of the settlement. Its trial was set to begin March 20th but has been postponed due to COVID-19.
In addition, individual plaintiffs who have been injured or who have lost family members due to the opioid crisis have also filed lawsuits. More than 2,000 lawsuits were consolidated by a judicial panel into the National Prescription Opiate Litigation. However, thousands of individual suits are still pending and could face courtroom confrontations in the future.
An Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you or someone you love has been injured through the use of opioids, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Gregg Goldfarb has been helping the victims of dangerous drugs for over 20 years. Contact us online or call us at 305-374-7000 to schedule a free consultation.