Month: December 2017

3-Part Series: Prescription Addiction, Big Pharma and the Opioid Epidemic

With the U.S. in the grips of an opioid crisis that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, the role of pharmaceutical manufacturers that made tens of billions of dollars selling the deadly painkillers is coming into focus as litigation and investigations mount.

From as far back as 1911 until the late 1990s, the use of opioids, or narcotics, was limited to very narrow circumstances, such as post-surgical pain and end-of-life care. That’s because the medical establishment and regulators were keenly aware of the addictive quality of the drugs and the dangers they posed if misused.

But that all changed when a school of thought started to take over in medicine beginning in the late 1990s, early 2000s. Treating pain became a preeminent priority. Addiction was less of a concern and pain was dubbed the “5th vital sign.”

Plaintiff Wins $28M Verdict in PA Xarelto Lawsuit Trial

A Pennsylvania jury awarded an Indiana woman a $28 million verdict in the state’s first Xarelto lawsuit trial. The plaintiff suffered gastrointestinal bleeding about a year after being prescribed the blood-thinning drug, according to a press release.

The verdict followed nearly a month of testimony in court of Common Pleas. The plaintiff’s attorneys accused Johnson & Johnson and Bayer of downplaying the potentially life-threatening side effects of the Xarelto drug.

It took the jury less than two days to come to a verdict, awarding the plaintiff and her husband $1.8 million in compensatory damages and $26 million in punitive damages.

Pharmaceutical giants Bayer and Johnson & Johnson have been named in more than 20,000 lawsuits related to the Xarelto drug. Approximately 2,000 of those lawsuits are part of the mass tort program in Philadelphia.

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