Purdue Pharma L.P. has had better days in its existence. Right now the company faces a mounting number of lawsuits from various entities over its drug known as Oxycontin. You have likely heard of the drug even if you have never personally used it. It is a commonly prescribed painkiller that critics say is highly addictive and leading to a worsening opioid crisis.
The Attorney General Makes A Statement
A lawsuit from the State of Colorado was officially launched against the company with the words of Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. She stated that the state was pursuing this course of action because they allege that Perdue Pharma L.P. helped push out its addictive product through deceptive practices that resulted in many citizens becoming helplessly addicted. She states that this is in violation of consumer protection laws in the state and that the government will prove their case in court.
These are all pretty strong statements to come from the Attorney General, but Perdue Pharma L.P. has come to expect this kind of thing. Last year they found themselves on the defensive against lawsuits brought up by the states of North Carolina and New Jersey separately. It has become part of a strategy by these various states to try to hold the pharmaceutical company responsible.
Perdue Pharma Denies The Allegations
No surprise here but Perdue Pharma L.P. has put out a statement through their spokesperson saying that they deny all of the allegations that the state of Colorado has lodged at them. The spokesman continues by making the case that the products that Perdue Pharma L.P. puts out to the consumer market are all approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and that they think it is inappropriate for individual states to try to question the judgement of officials from the FDA.
Steps That The Company Is Taking
It appears from the outside that Perdue Pharma L.P. is doing everything that it can to simply deny the allegations altogether. However, some of the internal actions that the company has taken appear to be signs that they are at least willing to try to appease some of those who have been filing lawsuits against them.
One thing that the company has done is decide to stop marketing their opioid products directly to doctors to prescribe to patients. It is a little known secret in the industry, but pharmaceutical companies often pitch their products directly to doctors in the hopes that those doctors will then prescribe these same products to their patients. That creates a great market for the prescription makers, and the doctors tend to get something out of it as well.
Many companies take doctors on elaborate trips or offer other perks to push them to prescribe their particular product. It is a hard marketing technique that often works at convincing doctors to do what the company wants them to do. At the very least this particular company has decided to stop doing this particular practice with these opioid drugs. It is a small step, but it is a start.
Hundreds Of Deaths
The state of Colorado has decided that they simply have to step in at this particular moment because the problem has grow so large. In the last year alone more than three-hundred Coloradans died as a result of opioid prescription poisoning. That is that they overdosed on these drugs. The maker could say that those who died this way were taking the drug in a way that it was not prescribed to be taken, but opponents will point out that the addictive nature of the drug itself is what leads so many to over consume these pills in the first place.
Lawsuits And New Laws
Lawsuits are one way to get the attention of Perdue Pharma L.P. and other similar companies, but that is not the only way to try to tackle this problem. Some individual cities have proposed laws that would ban this particular prescription drug from being prescribed by doctors at all. Denver is an example of one city that is making that consideration.
In addition, other places are thinking about creating a whole list of different types of laws that may make it harder for companies to push through addictive substances simply because they are heavily marketed.
Turning Settlements Into Treatment Programs
The whole point of the lawsuits that are floating around against these companies in the first place is to try to get those same companies to do the right thing. The state wants to generate as many settlements as it can from these companies so as to use the settlement money to fund drug treatment programs that they do not have available in big quantities today.
Drug treatment facilities can help those who have become addicted to these pills to find a new way of living without them. The settlements from the drugmakers themselves seems like a pretty justified way to find the funding necessary to build up these programs to a greater extent.
The companies may feel that they are being punished for something that is truthfully beyond their control, but governments insist that this is not the case. They say that they are merely trying to keep these companies honest by keeping them accountable for the actions that they have decided to take all of these years. They do not want retribution but merely to help people to get back on their feet.
If lawsuits prove successful in places like Colorado then you might see them start to pop up in many other states as well. The opioid crisis has impacted just about every community in the United States. So many of those communities need some kind of help to get past the place that they find themselves in today and back on track towards building the kind of future that they want and that they deserve. Lawsuits and settlements may be the only way to start to make that happen in many areas.