Opioid Marketing Litigation
Keller Rohrback represents government entities seeking to hold opioid manufacturers responsible for the devastating consequences of flooding the country with highly addictive and dangerous prescription opioids. The manufacturers aggressively marketed the pills to doctors and patients through a campaign of distortion and misinformation—claiming that opioids were safe and effective for the treatment of chronic pain and a wide range of other conditions, and that addiction was rare. None of this was true.
Obscured from the marketing was the fact that prescription opioids are not much different than heroin—indeed on a molecular level, they are virtually indistinguishable. They are synthesized from the same plant, have similar molecular structures, and bind to the same receptors in the human brain. It is no wonder then that there is a straight line between prescription opioid abuse and heroin addiction.
The country is in the throes of a national crisis—an opioid epidemic that is killing thousands of people every year. Opioid overdose deaths (which include prescription opioids as well as heroin) have risen steadily every year, from approximately 4,030 in 1999 to 15,597 in 2009 and to over 33,000 in 2015. In 2016, that toll climbed to 53,000. More than half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid, like those manufactured by Defendants.
Opioid manufacturers, Purdue Pharma, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, among others, made billions of dollars pushing dangerous, highly addictive narcotics. State and local governments are saddled with the inordinate costs and burdens of the crisis created by the drugmakers’ greed and indifference.
Keller Rohrback is honored to represent government entities that have made the decision to hold opioid manufacturers accountable for the damage the manufacturers have caused. We are devoted to our clients and committed to helping them achieve justice.
King County vs. Opioid Manufacturers
On January 5, 2018, Keller Rohrback L.L.P. filed suit on behalf of King County in Washington State against prescription opioid manufacturers Purdue, Endo, and Janssen, as well as other related entities and individuals responsible for the opioid epidemic.The suit was filed to hold the Defendants accountable for their “reckless promotion of the use of potent opioids for chronic pain while deliberately downplaying the significant risks of the addiction and overdose.” King County is on the front line of combating the resulting opioid crisis and has suffered significant economic damages as a result. Read more here.
The City of Tacoma vs. Opioid Manufacturers
Keller Rohrback filed a complaint on behalf of the City of Tacoma in Washington against Purdue, Endo and Janssen, three of the biggest manufacturers of prescription opioids in the United States. The suit was filed to hold Purdue, Endo and Janssen accountable for an opioid epidemic that is having devastating consequences in Tacoma and across the country. For over 20 years, the Defendants allegedly provided false and misleading information to doctors and patients about the safety and efficacy of prescription opioids. Keller Rohrback is working closely with Tacoma officials to catalog the city’s damages and build a comprehensive case against these pharmaceutical companies. Learn more about the case here.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are commonly prescribed as pain relievers. The drugs work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain or body. Once they attach, they inhibit pain signals. Opioids include illegal drugs such as heroin and prescription medications such as OxyContin and Vicodin. Long-term use can lead to addiction and abuse. Prescription opioid abuse is often a gateway to heroin addiction. In fact, over 80 percent of new heroin addicts between 2008 and 2010 started with prescription opioids.
Oxycodone (such as OxyContin, Roxicodone, Percocet (a combo of oxycodone and acetaminophen))
Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorcet, Norco)
Morphine (Avinza, Kadian)
Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze)
Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
Codeine (generic forms)
Tramadol (ConZip, Ultram)
Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
In the News
A Brief, Blood-Boiling History of the Opioid Epidemic (Mother Jones)
The Family That Built an Empire on Pain (The New Yorker)
The Opioid Epidemic: A Crisis Years in the Making (New York Times, Oct. 26, 2017)
About the Epidemic (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)
Opioid history: From ‘Wonder Drug’ to Abuse Epidemic (CNN, Oct. 14, 2016)