Wednesday, October 11, 2017 by Ethan Huff
What many are now referring to as the “opioid crisis” represents one of the worst epidemics of our time, claiming more than 64,000 lives annually, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). But the perpetrator of it all, the pharmaceutical industry, will not be going unpunished if a wave of potential lawsuits soon to be pending in multiple states is victorious in achieving justice.
New reports suggest that Big Pharma could soon go the way of Big Tobacco as a result of these suits, seeing as how the very same lawyer that tanked the cigarette industry is now going after the legal drug cartels that make and sell them. Mike Moore, a former attorney general from Mississippi, is aggressively calling on states to pursue legal remedy against drug companies for failing to properly calculate the addiction risks of their opioid drugs.
Moore is calling on at least 25 states to join him in building a multi-state coalition to sue the pants off of the drug industry for recklessly harming and killing millions with its opioid poisons. It is a similar strategy to the one he employed as attorney general back in 1994 when he filed the first ever state lawsuit against tobacco companies. Not long after, he helped to spearhead another lawsuit that led to negotiations that in turn resulted in a $246 billion settlement.
“I want there to be a huge amount of resources available for treatment,” Moore is quoted as saying. “And I want the industry to change its practices.”
Moore’s highly successful track record of litigation further includes a lawsuit he filed on behalf of the federal government against oil giant BP, which back in 2010 caused major damage as part of the infamous Deepwater Horizon spill that took place in the Gulf of Mexico. Moore was able to garner a $20 billion settlement from BP for damages back in the spring of this year.
Because of Moore’s “get it done” approach, many are confident that he can take on Big Pharma and win, which is why some 40 state attorneys general are reportedly already investigating how they might go about filing their own lawsuits. It is a massive undertaking, but one that stands a high probability of success if done correctly.
What is further amazing about how Moore wishes to go about suing the drug industry is that he does not simply want to make the case that opioids leads to addiction when people abuse them. He wants to further peg opioids as leading to addiction even when used as directed by physicians – in other words, opioids are inherently dangerous and probably should not be on the market at all.
“When he’s motivated, you don’t want to be on the other side,” James Tierney, a former Maine attorney general who worked with Moore to go after the tobacco industry, is quoted as saying.
In addition to Moore’s efforts, there are reportedly many others pursuing justice against Big Pharma on the more local level. Several dozen cities and counties are included among these, as are cases in the states of Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Both South Carolina and New Hampshire have also more recently joined the effort, with likely many more on the way.
“If they can get 14 or 15 states to file against the drugmakers, that will put stress on the companies, cost wise, to defend these suits all over the country,” says Carl Tobias, a product-liability law professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia. “That will give them incentive to talk rather than fight.”
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