MESA COUNTY, Colo. –
Mesa County is joining a group of 15 other local government entities involved in a lawsuit against 21 pharmaceutical companies. The Lawsuit alleges that the companies “…consistently, deliberately, and recklessly made and continue to make false and misleading statements regarding the low risk of addiction to opioids, opioids effectiveness for chronic pain and ability to improve patients’ quality of life with long term use…”
The more than 300 page complaint also calls opioid abuse the worst man made epidemic in the history of modern medicine. Citing since 2000 more than 400,000 Americans have lost their life to opioid overdose. More than five times the total American fatalities in the Vietnam War.
Furthermore, the lawsuit points to a CDC estimate that the economic burden of opioid use costs the U.S. nearly 80 billion dollars annually. Losses by way of health care costs and addiction treatment, increased strains on human services and court systems.
This lawsuit, originally filed in January of this year, is not the first of its kind. In fact, the county attorney told KREX a bellwether case is happening in October in Ohio. it’s possible if the case leads to a settlement the companies might set up a payment structure instead of racking up legal fees defending their case in an ever-growing number of states.
The county attorney, Patrick Coleman, wouldn’t say exactly how much money Mesa County hopes to recoup from the lawsuit. But according to court documents the opioid industry is projected to earn pharmaceutical companies nearly $20,000,000,000 in 2020.