With more attention on the impact of opioid addiction and the role of overprescribing, drug companies have come under scrutiny for suspicious and sometimes unsavory marketing practices.
A lot of the spotlight has been directed toward Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin. Unsealed court documents indicate that the drug manufacturer went to great lengths to stop preauthorization of OxyContin in West Virginia despite concerns from public health officials; partnered with Abbott Laboratories in an effort to increase sales; and ignored signs of a drug-distribution scheme.
Nearly a decade after Purdue paid $20 million in a settlement with 27 states, attorneys general across the country are looking for new legal pathways to go after Purdue’s marketing practices. Other opioid manufacturers aren’t immune to this scrutiny, leading several states and cities to bring new claims that drugmakers downplayed the risks of addiction.
At the same time, the DOJ has instructed prosecutors to target physicians with high opioid prescribing rates, and in some cases, doctors are being charged with murder for allegedly overprescribing painkillers that led to an overdose.
The aftermath of the opioid epidemic is going to linger throughout 2017. So will the legal ramifications.