KC lawsuit seeks compensation from Big Pharma for opioid crisis

Marc LaVoie
August 10, 2018 - 6:08 am
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Lawyers for Kansas City say they are taking on the companies responsible for opioid crisis, what the city calls "the worst man-made epidemic in modern medical history."

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that 630,000 people died of drug overdoses in the U.S. between 1999 and 2016, and in 2016 66 percent of drug overdose deaths involved at least one opioid.

The city filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against some of the country's largest pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the makers of oxycontin.

According to a post on the city's website, the lawsuit alleges the defendants "sought to create a false perception in the minds of physicians, patients, health care providers and health care payors that using opioids to treat chronic pain was safe for most patients and that the drugs’ benefits outweighed the risks."

As evidence of the epidemic's affect on Kansas City, the lawsuit alleges a significant percentage of zip codes within the city were in the 99th percentile for opioid overuse-related hospital visits between 2005 and 2014.

Jackson County filed a similar lawsuit in July, joining more than 400 cities and counties across the country in taking legal action against pharmaceutical companies.

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