Boise Joins Opiod Litigation, Files Against 20 Manufacturers
The city of Boise, Idaho has joined in the litigation against opioid manufacturers, filing suit against twenty drug companies over the opioid crisis. The lawsuit, like many others, accuses large pharmaceutical companies of being a public nuisance by creating a “dramatic oversupply” of opioids; of negligence in failing to acknowledge misuse; and of conspiring to break federal laws and regulations.
“The swath of destruction to lives and families caused by opioids cuts across all ages, races and economic levels,” Mayor David Bieter said. “In all likelihood, you know someone struggling with opioid addiction — a co-worker, a friend, a family member. It’s time we look to those profiting from this misfortune and hold them accountable for what they have caused.”
Bieter acknowledged that the Boise area has been directly affected and indicated that there was one death in 2013, and 110 in 2017. These numbers clearly demonstrated an upswing in opioid usage leading to the current crisis.
The city of Boise accuses drug makers of “promoting opioids to treat chronic health issues while downplaying the risk of addiction; deceiving doctors about health risks associated with opioid products and focusing sales efforts on doctors known to over-prescribe; and failing to investigate and report suspicious opioid orders to law enforcement and take steps to prevent their products from being diverted onto the black market,” according to the filing.
The parent of a Boise High School student who died of a heroin overdose in September of this year was featured in the new release announcing the city’s decision. Scott Fischer said his 19-year-old son, Carter, had been addicted to prescription opioids, and this led to his death.
“My son, like too many other children in the Treasure Valley, fell victim to a drug that had become far too easy to find,” said Fischer. “Our children are dying from an epidemic that started in our own medicine cabinets. It’s time to fight back in every way possible.”
Several other government agencies in Idaho have filed similar lawsuits this year, as have cities, towns, and municipalities all over the U.S. In August 2017, eleven Idaho counties filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and retailers they say are responsible for igniting the epidemic. All of the Idaho cases are likely to become part of a national lawsuit currently going through an Ohio court.
U.S. District Judge Dan Polster of Cleveland, nominated to his post by former President Bill Clinton, is currently overseeing the consolidated litigation in Ohio. Polster has been meeting with those involved and pushing for a timely and cost-effective settlement. The litigation is still ongoing, however, and more parties continue to join.
The opioid crisis has collectively led to more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths nationwide in 2016 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This number is thought to be increasing year by year, and there are lawsuits being filed against physicians, pharmacists, retailers, manufacturers and other parties involved in the distribution of opioids. New guidelines have been put into place in an attempt to avoid overprescribing.