New Hampshire attorney general Joe Foster has accused five drug companies of blocking a statewide probe into whether the drugmakers broke the law in their marketing of opioid painkillers such as OxyContin. Foster says that the investigation could result in a state lawsuit against the drug companies if they are found to have violated New Hampshire laws by downplaying the addiction risk of opioid medications.
Foster has asked the five drug makers—Actavis, Endo, Janssen, Teva, and Purdue Pharma—to turn over thousands of pages of documents to the state related to their marketing of opioid painkillers. But as he told a state Superior Court judge earlier this summer, Foster has yet to receive a single page of the requested documents.
The New Hampshire investigation is one of several that have been launched by authorities across the U.S. in response to the nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse. Similar investigations in Chicago, Mississippi, and California have been launched by authorities looking for answers as to why nationwide rates of opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose have skyrocketed over the last two decades. According to the CDC, since 2014, more than 28,000 Americans have died from opioid overdoses; thousands more have experienced abuse or addiction caused by their use of painkillers such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, or fentanyl.
James Boffetti, New Hampshire’s lead attorney in the state’s opioid investigation, says that lawyers for the five drug companies are looking for any way they can to stall the case. Attorneys for the drugmakers have argued in court that the companies have committed no wrongdoing and that they could be harmed if forced to publicly reveal their internal marketing strategies.
Legal experts say that the effort of state and local prosecutors to take on the pharmaceutical industry’s marketing of opioid painkillers is an unprecedented effort to take on the drug industry. Although the drug companies have prevailed in their efforts so far to stall investigations into their marketing of opioid painkillers, experts say that they could lose in the court of public opinion as information about their marketing practices come to light.
Federal authorities have also taken steps to curb the epidemic of opioid overprescription in the U.S. In March, the FDA issued a black box warning for opioid medications to curb the risk of abuse and addiction for these drugs.
If you or a loved one suffered an overdose or other serious complications caused by prescription opioid medications, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the doctor or hospital that prescribed these drugs. Lawsuits have also been filed against the drugmakers that manufacture opioid painkillers for their aggressive marketing of these medications to patients. The first step in determining whether you may qualify to file a lawsuit is to talk with a law firm whose attorneys have the experience with opioid litigation to advise you of your legal rights.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have filed numerous individuals on behalf of individuals who have suffered overdoses or other complications caused by opioid painkillers or other drugs. Heygood, Orr & Pearson has handled more cases involving the fentanyl pain patch—a powerful opioid painkiller about 80-100 times more powerful than morphine—than all other law firms in the country combined. Our lawyers have the experience with opioid litigation cases to handle lawsuits involving a wide array of prescription painkillers, including Vicodin, hydrocodone, OxyContin, oxycodone, methadone, hydromorphone, and other drugs.
For more information about filing a lawsuit involving complications from prescription painkillers, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by completing the free case evaluation form located at the top of this page.