PHILADELPHIA, March 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Five lawsuits filed in the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County signaled to opioid drug manufacturers and distributors that healthcare payors are beginning to hold the opioid industry accountable for the escalating healthcare costs created by the opioid epidemic. Schwarz Mongeluzzi Law (SML) filed these lawsuits against drug manufacturers and distributors to help recover skyrocketing healthcare costs associated with the opioid crisis.
The lawsuits, filed on behalf of multiple healthcare payors, will undoubtedly be followed by additional lawsuits aimed at calling the pharmaceutical industry to task for their part in the growing cost and devastation caused by this country's opioid epidemic. Healthcare costs have soared as a result of the significant cost of opioid drugs and the staggering cost to treat individuals who become addicted.
In each of the respective lawsuits, Schwarz Mongeluzzi Law, Simmons Hanley Conroy, and Pogust Braslow & Millrood, who represent multiple health and welfare funds, including AFSCME District Council 33, AFSCME District Council 47, Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local Union No. 1, Carpenters Health & Welfare of Philadelphia & Vicinity, and UNITEHERE Local 634 Health & Welfare Fund, called out 14 major pharmaceutical companies for fraud, misrepresentation, conspiracy, negligence, public nuisance, and unjust enrichment.
The lawsuits aim to help these groups recover financial losses incurred due to opioid drug costs and opioid cost-related treatment for their members. The crux of the lawsuits is the allegation that pharmaceutical manufacturers unscrupulously marketed their products and were willfully blind to the fallout:
"[I]n order to expand the market for opioids and realize blockbuster profits, Manufacturer Defendants sought to create a false perception of the safety and efficacy of opioids."
Dennis Pagliotti, Business Manager of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local Union No. 1, estimates that a disproportionate amount of his plan's healthcare costs is now apportioned to treating members affected by the opioid epidemic.
Daniel Schwarz, Esq., of Schwarz Mongeluzzi Law explained:
"You cannot quantify the loss of life and the suffering that families have experienced associated with the opioid epidemic. What you can quantify is the significant cost associated with the increased healthcare premiums and costs that employers, insurers and health and welfare funds around the country have incurred in an attempt to provide solutions for individuals."
Deborah Willig, Esq., of Willig, Williams & Davidson, is providing counsel to AFSCME District Council 47 and UNITEHERE Local 634 Health & Welfare Fund to not only take action to protect future harm to their membership, but to also demand reimbursement for the enormous costs in healthcare dollars already spent to treat individuals and family members.
"The opioid epidemic is so profound in its destruction that its true impact is almost immeasurable. From a purely financial perspective, though, health and welfare funds, such as District Council 47 and UNITEHERE Local 634, have, for years, shouldered an enormous financial burden as a direct result of the pharmaceutical industry's malfeasance; it is time for the Funds to be compensated for the treatment costs it has borne. This recovery will enable the DC47 and UNITEHERE Local 634 Funds to continue to provide valuable healthcare solutions to its members."
As health plans like these begin to take action against the pharmaceutical industry, a path toward manageable healthcare costs can be forged and, most importantly, mechanisms for ending the costs associated with the opioid epidemic are being put into place.
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SOURCE Schwarz Mongeluzzi Law