Lawsuits against Big Pharma Don’t Bring Our Loved Ones Back

Pharmaceutical company gets sued

Lately, the national news has covered some major stories about lawsuits being forged against major pharmaceutical companies for the roles they played in creating today’s drug crisis. At this point, most of us are fully aware that deceptive marketing practices were used to sell opioid painkillers by the billions, only to leave overdose and death as the collateral damage. Over the years, many families have lost loved ones due to addiction. The once “good kid” was now nodding off at the dinner table and the popular cheerleader in high school found herself shivering at 5 am waiting outside of a methadone clinic. Suing the pharmaceutical industries might be a way to force them to take some responsibility for what they’ve done, but what it won’t do is bring our loved ones back.

Recently, Johnson and Johnson were hit with a $572 million judgment for its role in the drug crisis. The suit came out of Oklahoma where a judge just imposed this sentence. The Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed the lawsuit against the company. According to Cleveland County Judge Balkman, the companies “misleading marketing and promotion of opioids created a nuisance” in the state.

Michael Ullman, VP of Johnson and Johnson countered, saying, “This judgment is a misapplication of public nuisance law that has already been rejected by judges in other states. The unprecedented award for the State’s ’abatement plan ’ has sweeping ramifications for many industries and bears no relation to the Company’s medicines or conduct.

Either way you look at it, the results have been atrocious, to say the least. While these court battles have been carrying on, addicts have been dying all over the country from the behavior of some these companies around the late 1990s. Furthermore, all the lawsuits in the world can never, ever bring our loved ones back. There’s no magic time machine we can jump into and go back in time and prevent this industry from doing what it did. There’s nothing we can do to bring them back and they’ve become unfortunate victims of greed. The damage has already been done.

“We can still push forward, we can still fight, and we can still hold the responsible parties accountable for their behavior and poor decisions.”

The good news—the silver lining if you will—is that while there’s absolutely nothing we can do to bring back those we’ve loved and lost, we can keep pushing forward and continue trying to get a handle on this the thing. If there’s one thing that definitely won’t help, it’s becoming apathetic about the whole thing and throwing in the towel, saying there’s nothing we can do anymore. We can still push forward, we can still fight, and we can still hold the responsible parties accountable for their behavior and poor decisions, the same as you would for an addict in the middle of their addiction.

I’m glad to see the pharmaceutical industry finally being made responsible for what they’ve done to create the chaos we currently have in our society, but it’s not an answer to the problem. It’s a start though.

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Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 10 years. Having been an addict himself he brings real-word experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.