THE BLOG

The Lawsuits Spread

06/10/2014 10:11 am ET | Updated Aug 10, 2014

Just two weeks ago, Orange County was making headlines for filing a lawsuit that blamed major pharmaceutical companies for unethically pushing sales of painkillers and other dangerous prescription drugs. Now, Chicago is filing an almost identical lawsuit against some of the same companies.

The city of Chicago is suing Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. for allegedly attempting trying to drive sales of painkillers despite the many risks associated with them.

Lawyers working for the city of Chicago said that, "since 2007, the city has paid for nearly 400,000 claims for opioid prescription fills, costing nearly $9.5 million, and suffered additional damages for the costs of providing and using opiates long-term to treat chronic non-cancer pain."

Just as with the lawsuit coming out of Orange County, the lawsuit filed by the city of Chicago claims that these major pharmaceutical companies have purposely covered up the many risks associated with painkillers just to push the product.

This is now something that is not just impacting a county in California, but is now impacting the third largest city in the country. Can you imagine where else this might be taking place?

Right now, the finger is being pointed at major pharmaceutical companies for keeping the prescription drug epidemic going. There is some truth to that, but this is not the only thing driving this epidemic, and it's important to understand that.

There are tons of doctors out there who have been influenced by companies such as those listed in the lawsuit, and actually feel as though they are providing a solid product to their patients. There are other doctors who know better, but are looking to turn a buck. And of course, there are plenty of doctors who are aware that these drugs are dangerous and only prescribe them when necessary after taking as many precautions as possible.

On the other hand, there are people out there who are going to look for prescription drugs wherever they can get them, and that is not the fault of a pharmaceutical company. At the same time, some people place all of their trust in their doctors and big pharmaceutical companies and feel that anything they get through them must be safe, which isn't always the case.

Working at a treatment facility (and having attended many in the past), I know one thing -- actions speak louder than words. Opioids like prescription painkillers are taking over and have been for some time -- regardless of how people are getting their hands on them. Obviously, these two major lawsuits show huge instances of possible neglect on behalf of pharmaceutical companies, and its important that the right measures get taken to put a stop to this -- even if it is only one part of the problem. Any way that we can take action or raise awareness is what is most important.