Personal Injury Blog

Montgomery County is Latest Jurisdiction to Sue Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors for Opioid Crisis

By: Allan M. Siegel

Earlier this month, Montgomery County announced its intention to sue manufacturers and distributors of opioids, which are a commonly prescribed type of painkiller. Oxycodone and morphine are examples of opioids.

The County contends that these companies used false marketing and other unlawful sales techniques in a manner that led to over-prescriptions of the drug, and contributed to causing the nation’s opioid crisis. The County further contends that the opioid crisis cost taxpayers, as the government had to spend public health funds on treatment.

Montgomery County is the latest local jurisdiction to bring such a lawsuit. Earlier this year, states and cities such as Ohio, Kentucky, and Minneapolis have done the same. Also earlier this year, the attorneys general of 41 different states agreed to investigate opioid manufacturers and distributors to determine their responsibility for the opioid crisis.

The lawsuits are reminiscent of an earlier round of lawsuits that state governments filed in the 1990s against tobacco companies, alleging that the companies hid the health risks of cigarettes in order to encourage consumers to smoke and become addicted to nicotine. Those lawsuits led to large settlements and forced the restructuring of the tobacco industry. Time will tell whether opioid manufacturers and distributors will be similarly held accountable.