Newborn Opioid Withdrawal Lawsuits On the Rise
By Lynn Fugaro, Staff Writer
You’re probably aware that several states have taken action against big pharma for its role in the opioid crisis. Opioids are killing American teens and adults at an alarming rate. Numerous states, cities and counties have sued or are in the midst of pursuing multi-million dollar lawsuits against the drug makers that manufactured and marketed billions of highly addictive pain relieving pills without informing patients or doctors of the risks. After two big verdicts against drug companies in 2019, there is more talk of settlement, but all the cases are still pending.
With all of these product liability lawsuits pending, it’s easy to lose focus on who the real victims of the opioid epidemic really are: men, women, children, and even babies, who became addicted to a legal drug that was most likely originally prescribed to them by a medical doctor.
Newborn opioid withdrawal lawsuits are being filed all across the country because women who received prescriptions for pain relief for valid medical issues have ended up addicted; when their doctor decides to stop the prescription narcotics, the women find themselves in withdrawal often times and in need of a more readily available, cheaper replacement for the prescription opioids they can no longer get. That cheaper, more readily available replacement is often heroin or black market fentanyl.
Alarming Number of Babies Born Addicted
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, the number of babies born in the United States addicted to opioids tripled between 1999 and 2013.
When women use opioids during pregnancy, their baby may face a number of health issues including: preterm or premature births, birth defects, and low birth weight. Life-threatening opioid withdrawal syndrome in newborns is known as neonatal abstinence syndrome, which can cause serious problems for a baby, including developmental delays, behavioral problems, undeveloped liver, and breathing problems.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Legal Action
If a medical doctor or nurse practitioner prescribed opioids while you were pregnant, and your baby was born with “neonatal abstinence syndrome,” you may be entitled to file a neonatal abstinence syndrome lawsuit. In the United States, thousands of victims have filed lawsuits against big pharma claiming opioid manufacturers knowingly downplayed the dangers of dependency on opioid painkillers, and the plaintiffs are typically winning these lawsuits, which is why so many states are refusing to settle with large pharmaceutical companies.
Why is Big Pharma Liable for a Baby’s Addiction?
The lawsuits that have already been settled claimed that the drug companies marketed pain relief pills for nearly any type of pain-related issue, knowing that patients would become addicted and need more of and higher doses of the drug to get any type of relief from their pain.
Drugs such as OxyContin (and its generic, oxycodone), hydrocodone, morphine, fentanyl, and variations of these drugs were originally intended for the chronic severe pain associated with terminal illness and surgical procedures. However, drug companies, according to the lawsuits, encouraged doctors to prescribe these powerful, highly addictive drugs to patients with headaches, back pain, and other less severe pain-related conditions.
Because drug manufacturers pushed doctors to prescribe these drugs using marketing tactics and incentive programs, innocent patients and their loved ones, including babies and children, are now suffering the consequences while manufacturers have raked in the big bucks for many years.