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Friday, September 4, 2015

Judge Halts Lawsuit Against Big Pharma

opioids
For over a decade pharmaceutical companies have profited from people’s addiction to opioids. While it is a little bit harder today, it is still quite easy to get written a prescription for a highly addictive opioid for a minor ailment. The nation has seen firsthand the damage caused by opioid misuse and addiction, leading to thousands of overdoses and a rise in heroin use. The number of people requiring substance use disorder treatment for opioids has skyrocketed in recent years, a cost which mostly falls on state budgets. Some are of the opinion that “big pharma” should cover the cost of the damage their drugs have cost.

Last year, two California counties filed a lawsuit against five (5) major pharmaceutical companies, calling on them to pay for the damages resulting from the prescription opioid epidemic. Sadly, both Orange and Santa Clara counties received a blow last week, when a judge halted the lawsuit, The Los Angeles Times reports. The halt was due to a pending FDA inquiry into the safety and efficacy of painkillers.

"The FDA is not going to help us with this," said Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas. "This is a plague on our society. The suffering goes on day in and day out." 

The pharmaceutical companies in question asked Court Judge Robert J. Moss to dismiss the suit based on the grounds that the FDA had exclusive jurisdiction over the matter, according to the article. Purdue Pharma lawyer Lisa Gilford pointed out that if the case continued forward it would only serve to duplicate FDA efforts, and a decision could be rendered that was at odds with the FDA. Purdue stated:

"We are pleased Judge Moss agreed that complex scientific issues regarding the treatment of chronic pain are best decided by the FDA, the agency with relevant expertise."

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