FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
For more information, contact Chris Hernandez, 816-513-3474
The City of Kansas City has filed a civil lawsuit against the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and distribute opioids. The lawsuit alleges the companies engaged in deliberate and deceptive marketing strategies of opioid painkillers, resulting in high overdose and fatality rates in Kansas City.
The lawsuit, filed August 9, 2018, alleges the opioid epidemic is “the worst man-made epidemic in modern medical history” and seeks to hold the defendants responsible for their role in its creation.
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. This was allegedly perpetrated through a coordinated, sophisticated and highly-deceptive promotion and marketing campaign – including unbranded messaging to evade extensive regulatory framework governing branded communications. These communications, which began in the late 1990s, became more aggressive around 2006 and continue today.
Additionally, the complaint alleges the crisis was fueled and sustained by those involved in the supply chain of opioids, including manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies, who failed to maintain effective controls over the distribution of prescription opioids, and who instead have actively sought to evade such controls.
The opioid epidemic is impacting citizens of Kansas City at an alarming rate. For example, the City had an opioid dispensation rate of more than 586 per 1,000 residents in the second quarter of 2017.
Additionally, a significant percentage of zip codes within the City were in the 99th percentile for opioid overuse-related hospital visits between 2005 and 2014.
In this lawsuit, the City seeks compensation for funds it has directly expended on opioids, as well as costs the City has incurred to combat the public nuisance created by the drug companies’ deceptive marketing campaign that misrepresents the safety and efficacy of long-term opioid use.
The City is represented by a team of attorneys comprised from the firms of Williams Dirks Dameron LLC, Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC, and Hardwick Law Firm LLC.