Firm Partner Tommy Fibich was recently interviewed and featured in a segment on NPR’s All Things Considered discussing Harris County’s federal civil lawsuit against the opioid industry. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday December 13th in Harris County District Court, has named over 20 drugmakers and distributors, as well as four doctors and a pharmacist, over their roles in contributing to devastating losses caused by improper practices when advertising and prescribing opioid medications. More defendants may be added to the lawsuit as the investigation continues.
As detailed in a previous blog, Fibich, Leebron, Copeland & Briggs has been selected to represent Harris County in a federal lawsuit against the opioid industry for contributing to a national public health emergency that has placed considerable strain on public resources, and caused profound and tremendous losses in the lives of numerous residents. The lawsuit against the $13 billion/yr. opioid industry, which joins others filed by other cities, counties, and states across the country, mirrors those filed against tobacco companies in the early 1990s.
As with tobacco litigation, the suits are designed to hold pharmaceutical corporations and others involved in the production, distribution, and marketing of addictive opioid drugs accountable for the catastrophic toll they have had on public health, social and economic welfare, and local governments tasked with addressing a problem that has reached epidemic proportions. As Mr. Fibich states on NPR:
“It’s exactly pharmaceutical’s tobacco moment. These are the most addictive drugs on our planet. They knew that. They promoted them in a way that caused people to be addicted to them. The problem is the companies that manufactured opioids went against every statue in law designed to protect the consumer.”
Pharmaceutical companies and others involved in the opioid drug distribution chain are now being increasingly targeted for their role in fueling the nation’s opioid crisis, which has cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars, and continues to kill roughly 90 million Americans each day. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a surge in opioid prescriptions (which nearly quadrupled since 1999) is one of the most significant factors behind the overwhelming toll.
“I would never say the pharmaceutical companies dropped the ball. The pharmaceutical companies blew up the ball, and kicked it out to the public for it to explode. The manufacturers and distributors, primarily, managed to disregard [the regulations]. They did it with impunity. And everybody was making so much money that they were willing to do it and take the risk.”
Our firm is proud to have been selected to be part of what may prove to be a historical moment in our country’s history, and an endeavor that will hopefully lead to changes that benefit public safety and our nation. It is our mission to do all we can in helping the fight against the opioid crisis move forward, and seeking accountability of those whose prioritization of profits comes at the expense of real people.