This morning, the Louisiana Department of Health announced a law suit filed against several leading opioid manufacturers for their role in escalating the opioid crisis in Louisiana. The lawsuit, filed in the 19th Judicial District Court in East Baton Rouge Parish, alleges that the drug companies engaged in fraudulent marketing regarding the risks and benefits of prescription opioids, which helped fuel Louisiana’s opioid epidemic.
“These drug companies led prescribers to believe that opioids were not addictive and even suggested that treating physicians prescribe greater dosage units to those who had already become addicted to opioids,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “As evident by the hundreds of Louisiana families that have lost loved ones due to this crisis, nothing could be further from the truth. We intend to hold these pharmaceutical companies responsible for the lasting damage they have caused upon our people and the millions of dollars their wrongful claims have cost our state.”
The Louisiana Department of Health is seeking damages for the amounts it has already paid for excessive opioid prescriptions and treatment costs as a result of those prescriptions.
Louisiana joins dozens of other cities, counties and states that have filed similar lawsuits in response to the alarming number of cases of opioid addition and opioid-related deaths throughout the country. Lawsuits were also filed last week by local sheriff’s offices in Avoyelles, Lafayette, Jefferson Davis and Rapides Parishes.
"By all means necessary, we are fighting the opioid epidemic in Louisiana. All indicators of this problem - opioid prescriptions, overdoses and deaths - are up. Recognizing that a key contributor to opioid addiction is prescription medications, where 110 prescriptions for opioids are written for every 100 Louisiana residents, we are addressing a fundamental cause of this problem," said Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health.