A new government study found that more than one third of U.S. adults were prescribed opioid medications in 2015. Though many chronic pain sufferers legitimately require these meds to manage pain, the increased number of people taking opioids increases risks associated with them. These addictive painkillers are being taken by 38% or about 92 million people according to results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The opioid epidemic is currently getting a lot of national attention especially since the number of deaths from drug overdoses in the U.S. has quadrupled between 1999 and 2015.
Are Pharma Companies in Legal Trouble?
Lawyers have already begun many lawsuits including ones against Purdue Pharma (maker of Oxycontin), Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Johnson & Johnson. However, it will be a tough sell in court to prove pharmas are responsible when most overdoses and related fatalities result when using the pills not as they were directed. A recent study estimated about 5% of U.S. adults (11.5 million people) were misuing opioids. Except in cases of obvious and deliberately misleading marketing of opioids, pharma companies are likely to win fights against the lawsuits.
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