The opioid crisis goes to court in Little Rock | Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 30, 2017

The opioid crisis goes to court in Little Rock

Posted By on Mon, Oct 30, 2017 at 6:33 AM

click to enlarge MUST READ: New Yorker on the wealth created by painkillers.
  • MUST READ: New Yorker on the wealth created by painkillers.
The opioid crisis — overprescription of painkillers with resulting addiction and death — may or may not prompt serious government action, but it will keep the courts busy.

Little Rock trial lawyer Tab Turner last week filed a lawsuit in Pulaski Circuit Court on behalf of one plaintiff and said he has 20 similar lawsuits in the works for Arkansas, plus more in Florida. The first is a deceptive trade practice lawsuit. You may recall that the Arkansas legislature, in the interest of protecting businesses from lawsuits, has made it impossible for private lawyers to file deceptive trade practice suits as class actions.

The first case concerns a woman who sought treatment for pain associated with physical labor at work. The pain management specialist switched her from hydrocodone to Subsys, approved only for late-stage cancer patients. She became addicted and lost her job and suffered other personal setbacks. She's successfully completed drug rehabilitation, Turner said, but remains disabled.

Turner outlines a case being made elsewhere — drug company marketing practices have contributed to the crisis, with big bonuses to salespeople and payments to doctors and fraudulent reimbursement schemes for an expensive drug. The practices have led to federal criminal investigations and indictments.

Much more will be said in the development of this and other cases. I'd also recommend for those interested to read an article in the current New Yorker about another drug company, Purdue Pharma, that has become fabulously wealthy from painkiller sales. The owners, members of the Sackler family, have become known as philanthropists, but have managed to avoid association with the costs of those contributions. It's a must-read.

Here's Turner's lawsuit filed last week in Little Rock.

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