Albany Law Firm Explains Capital Region Opioid Maker Lawsuit
On Tuesday, January 8, four upstate New York cities—Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and Plattsburgh—announced that they are suing drug manufacturers and distributors for their role in the opioid epidemic.
The four cities filed separate complaints alleging that the pharmaceutical companies that make common opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Percocet deliberately misled health-care providers about their risks, and failed to control or report suspiciously large orders that found their way into illicit markets.
DBLS Advocates for Upstate NY Cities
Jim Peluso, a partner at Albany firm Dreyer Boyajian LaMarche Safranko, who is representing the municipalities, said that the opioid epidemic is the largest drug crisis in U.S. history and has been declared a public health emergency by the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
The lawsuits, filed separately in the state supreme court for each respective county, are subject to be transferred to Suffolk County Supreme Court, which is hearing similar litigation filed by other New York state counties and municipalities, and by the state itself.
A joint news release by the mayors of the four cities (Kathy Sheehan, Albany; Gary McCarthy, Schenectady; Patrick Madden, Troy; and Colin Read, Plattsburgh) charged that the opioid epidemic has strained local budgets and overwhelmed emergency responders and drug treatment centers.
The complaints filed by Dreyer Boyajian LaMarche Safranko allege that corporate greed was behind the drug companies’ misrepresentations: “Manufacturers’ goal was simple: to dramatically increase sales by convincing doctors that it was safe and efficacious to prescribe opioids to treat not only the kind of severe and short-term pain associated with surgery or cancer, but also for a seemingly unlimited array of less severe, longer-term pain such as back pain and arthritis.”
Opioid Addiction US Statistics
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 130 Americans a day, on average, die from an opioid overdose. From 1999 through 2017, almost 400,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses, including prescription opioids as well as illegal ones like heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl. The annual death toll has shot up dramatically since the first big increase in prescribing of opioids in the 1990s; the number of overdose deaths from opioids was six times higher in 2017 than in 1999.
The lawsuits by the upstate New York cities name defendants including Purdue, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Cephalon, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Endo Pharmaceuticals, McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation.
Dreyer Boyajian LaMarche Safranko is headquartered in Albany, New York and represents clients in complex litigation in state and federal courts throughout New York state. Call us at (518) 463-7784 or contact us for a no-obligation consultation.