Jeff Sheppard, Attorney in New Jersey Explores Opioid Manufacturer’s Claims

Posted on: July 17, 2018
NEW JERSEY. According to the New York Times, Purdue Pharma has repeatedly asserted that it did not know how addictive its opioid painkillers were until years after its drugs had been on the market. Yet, a recent Justice Department report indicates that the company may have been well aware of the fact that OxyContin was being abused, even in the early days of its marketing the drug.

As far back as the 90s, the company may have been aware that some people were crushing and snorting the pills. Despite this knowledge, Purdue Pharma continued to market the drug as less addictive than alternatives. While prosecutors recommended that top executives face charges for their crimes, it appears that top officials in the George W. Bush administration let them settle the case without criminal indictment.

Reports indicate that internal memos within the company revealed that executives were aware that the drug had a street value. This news comes as the country grapples with an opioid epidemic that kills 115 people each day, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. As the country struggles with how to regulate these drugs and offer treatment for victims impacted by addiction, many struggle with why pharmaceutical companies have not faced serious charges. In 2007, Purdue Pharma plead guilty to “misbranding” OxyContin as non-addictive. The company paid fines and the executives were required to perform community service. But what about the victims? Do the victims have a right to pursue lawsuits against these companies?

According to the Atlantic, some victims’ advocates are seeking class action lawsuits. Some claim that the trajectory of these lawsuits can take a similar course to tobacco cases where victims won monetary damages. In the case of big tobacco, the tobacco industry received immunity from future lawsuits, but it must now deliver money to the states to fight cigarette smoking and fund anti-smoking initiatives. Could big pharma face a similar lawsuit?

So far, individuals who have sued big pharmaceutical companies for their addictions and injuries have failed to win damages. Unfortunately, the courts tend to view individual addiction as a person’s personal failings and not the result of being prescribed a powerfully addictive, potentially misleadingly labelled drug. Unfortunately, when it comes to the opioid epidemic, patients aren’t always using the pills as directed. When it comes to lawsuits, patients have a better chance of suing doctors who overprescribed the drugs or gave them too much dosage, than suing the pharmaceutical companies, if they abused the drugs.

Investigations into the actions of pharmaceutical companies indicate that they may have tried to mislead regulators about the addictive nature of these drugs.

The road to recovery for victims of the opioid crisis is long. If you or a loved one has suffered due to a doctor’s overprescribing of these drugs, you may have rights under the law. Visit Jeff Sheppard, Esq., personal injury attorney in New Jersey today to learn more about your rights and options under the law. Our firm may be able to help you seek damages if you have been hurt due to another person’s negligence or neglect. Visit us at

Jeff Sheppard, Esq.
750 White Horse Pike
Hammonton, NJ 08037
Phone: 609-605-2717