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Municipalities Sue Big Pharma For Opioid Crisis Damages

 

The opioid epidemic, besides its unfathomable human costs, has had large economic costs for businesses and governments who must manage workers compensation costs. Opioid prescriptions in the wake of workplace injuries have been linked to higher workers compensation payouts and longer layoffs before injured employees return to work. Facing the bill for these costs, government, citizens, and private entities have filed a veritable avalanche of lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies for their manufacture and marketing of opioid based painkillers.

DOT Updates To Post-Accident Drug Testing Means That Your Company Procedures Should Update Too

 As various parts of the United States federal government move to address the growing opioid crisis, the Department of Transportation has updated its drug testing policies to include a stronger focus on testing for painkillers.  Published on November 13, 2017, the new policy went into effect on January 1, 2018.  It brings the Department of Transportation’s drug testing rules into harmony with new rules issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.  The new rules will apply to employers regulated by the Department of Transportation, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  That means trucking companies will fall under the purview of this rule change when it comes to pre-employment and post-accident drug testing.

The Perilous Duty To Defend Manufacturers And Distributors Through The Opioid Crisis

  

As companies, states, workers compensation boards, and various federal government agencies grapple with the growing opioid epidemic, litigation against the pharmaceutical companies producing opioids for medical treatment has begun in earnest.  Multiple state governments have sued these companies alleging a host of legal violations, often centered around deceptive marketing claims.  These lawsuits have in turn caused a number of spin-off actions between insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies to determine the extent to which insurance companies have duties to defend or indemnify the pharmaceutical companies from the ongoing litigation.

Mitchell Study Confirms The Role That Workers' Compensation Plays In The Opioid Crisis

To combat the growing epidemic of opioid abuse, the Center for Disease Control issued guidelines aimed at limiting the prescription of opioids in ways that might lead to ongoing addiction.  Studies have shown that approximately 75% of new heroin users stated that they started their addiction with prescription opioids.  Via various methods;  obtained themselves with a prescription or from someone else.  State governments and the insurance industry have been heavily involved in trying to reduce opioid prescriptions as a way of combating the epidemic, while also aiming to lower the costs of workers compensation claims which can increase exponentially when pain leads to addiction. 

CDC Releases Guidelines To Stem The Tide Of Opioid Use

Opioid prescriptions and opioid abuse have the potential to substantially increase workers’ compensation costs for companies.  Opioids lead to addictions and can increase the amount of time an employee cannot work.