Baron & Budd’s John Fiske and Torri Sherlin Recognized by Daily Journal’s 2020 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Award
John Fiske and Torri Sherlin of Baron & Budd, P.C. have been named 2020 California Lawyer...READ MORE
People might wonder why municipalities and counties across the nation are filing suit against the distributors of opioids. They might ask why opioid distributors should be blamed when it is the patients themselves who are taking too many of these drugs and suffering severe medical consequences as a result. Turns out there are important laws that distributors of controlled substances are required to follow – and their failure to do so is at the crux of the opioid epidemic, which is costing communities across the country millions of dollars and thousands of lives.
Giant pharmaceutical distributors have experienced an unprecedented jump in orders for prescription opiates from pharmacies, hospitals, medical practices and pain clinics. Federal law requires distributors of controlled substances to monitor the millions of opioids shipped out every day and report questionable activity such as requests for prescriptions that far outnumber or are inconsistent with previous purchases. Yet these wholesale distributors and others have consistently failed to report blatantly exaggerated opioid requisitions.
Starting in the 1990s, large pharmaceutical companies, the makers of such highly addictive drugs as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet, employed illegal and unethical marketing tactics to get these dangerous drugs into the hands of as many patients and treating physicians as possible. The number of prescriptions written for opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone exploded from around 76 million in 1991 to nearly 207 million by 2013, largely as a result of aggressive advertising on the part of the opioid manufacturers, accompanied by a reprehensible lack of information for physicians about how highly addictive these drugs were.
The makers and distributors of these controlled substances knew the addictiveness of their drugs, but purposely failed to reveal, in their advertising and accompanying literature, the high probability of addiction and other dangers associated with taking opioids. They ignored concerns towards the patients taking these pills so they could reap billions in profits. This resulted in a large percentage of the population virtually held hostage by an uncontrollable need for products happily supplied by Big Pharma.
In the same way that numerous lawsuits in the 1970s caused tobacco companies to revise the way addictive cigarettes were being advertised and distributed, so, too, the communities filing lawsuits against opioid distributors and manufacturers. They hope to stanch the flow of these addictive pharmaceuticals into cities, counties and tribal nations ill equipped to handle the enormous costs of treating so many patients being harmed by acute addiction to dangerous drugs. Baron & Budd is at the forefront of this effort.
Baron & Budd is helping states and municipalities obtain the funds needed to cover these unprecedented costs by filing suit against the opioid distributors and manufacturers.