A year ago, Harris County made the decision to file a lawsuit against 21 different drug manufacturers as well as four doctors and a pharmacist because of their contributions to the widespread opioid epidemic that has gripped the country and the Houston area. Attorney Tommy Fibich was proud to be one of several attorneys the county is working with for their suit, calling it “Pharmaceutical’s tobacco moment,” in a previous article from Houston Public Media, a service provided by the University of Houston.
Now, a year after the suit has been filed, Attorney Fibich and the suit was once again in the headlines on the publishing outlet, which put the spotlight back on the case that seeks to open the door to progress in this ever-growing problem. Houston Public Media spoke with Attorney Fibich to talk about what had happened over the past year, and how the case was progressing, with the results being published in an article on the site.
“We’re trying to get as much information as quickly as we can and trying to get some cases set for trial,” he told the outlet. The goal of these trials is to hold pharmaceutical companies which produce these highly-addictive drugs accountable for the cost to society, including the cost to Harris County. The first step to accomplishing this goal, according to Attorney Fibich, is to have these drugs declared a nuisance, which will in turn help them hold the companies accountable for the massive expenditures that the county faces as a result of the epidemic.
According to Attorney Fibich, about 30 percent of all incarcerated individuals in Harris County are there because of opioid-related charges, and each person’s incarceration comes at a cost of approximately $90 per day. That doesn’t include any of the additional costs for probation and/or foster care that each case can take.
One of the largest reasons this epidemic has become so widespread is the negligent or outright false advertising as to what these drugs truly were and how they could impact people’s lives. Attorney Fibich explained to the outlet that many of the drugs these companies produced were stronger than morphine, a heavily-regulated painkilling medication, but were instead marketed as non-addictive and safe for general use. This marketing led to misinformed doctors, who rely on information from these companies rather than conducting individual testing on drugs themselves.
The case is far from over—in fact, it’s still in what many people would consider the “just getting started” phase. However, Attorney Fibich has strong hopes for the future. He believes this work, combined with others from around the country, can help stop the continual cycle of more than 115 people who die every day from overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
If you’ve been prescribed the wrong medicine and became addicted due to pharmaceutical company false advertising, call our Houston dangerous drug attorneys at Fibich, Leebron, Copeland & Briggs at (713) 751-0025 to request a case evaluation.