SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of 12 Missouri hospitals have filed a civil suit in Greene County Circuit Court against manufacturers, distributors and retailers of opioid-based drugs. Between 2006 and 2014, opioid distributors shipped nearly 2.2 billion pills to Missouri, equaling 362 opioid doses for every man, woman and child in the state. By 2017, 71.8 opioid prescriptions were written for every 100 persons, higher than the national average of 58.7 per 100.
Several years ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. Today's suit alleges the retailers, distributors and manufacturers of the drug are largely responsible for this crisis and the associated health care costs resulting from patients with opioid-related health conditions.
The suit details how the drug manufacturers' deceptive marketing messages to hospitals and physicians claimed there was a low risk of developing dependence when prescribing opioids to treat chronic pain, overstating the benefits of opioids and trivializing the risk of long-term use. Distributors and retailers ignored mounting evidence of a crisis, disregarded their duties to maintain effective control of the pills and failed to identify, report and take steps to halt suspicious orders in the pursuit of profit.
"For almost two decades hospitals have experienced financial harm addressing the fallout from the opioid crisis, and they continue to fund treatment for many opioid-addicted patients with little or no reimbursement," said Greg Aleshire, attorney with Aleshire Robb & Rapp, in Springfield. "As the world steps back and stays home, hospitals serve on the front lines of the COVID-19 global pandemic, while continuing to suffer the financial and operational impact of the opioid epidemic. Hospitals need financial relief now more than ever to help ensure resources will be available to care for our communities."
The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug epidemic in American history. Between 1999 and 2014, more than 165,000 Americans died of opioid overdose and the trend continued to accelerate. More than 45,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses in a 12-month period ending September 2017.
Widespread drug addiction imposes many costs on a community including the expense of health care and substance abuse treatment. Hospitals in Missouri and across the country, bound both by their missions and by federal law, have a responsibility to stabilize and treat any patient, regardless of their ability to pay. As a result, more than any other kind of institution, hospitals have borne the financial brunt of the opioid crisis.
The Missouri hospitals join more than 650 hospitals across the United States to file state-based lawsuits against the manufacturers, distributors and retailers responsible for the opioid crisis. Learn more about the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic on America's hospitals at https://hospitalopioidcrisis.com/
The case number is 2031-CC00459 in the Circuit Court of Greene County, Missouri.
Media Contact: Philip Betbeze, [email protected], 615-750-9035
SOURCE Aleshire Robb PC