Eleven Mississippi hospitals recently filed a civil suit in the Circuit Court of Hinds County against the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of opioid-based drugs.
The suit alleges the companies used the false and deceptive marketing of the drugs to increase the demand dramatically. As a consequence, the rates of opioid dependence, serious health issues, death, health care costs, and crime have increased.
“The opioid epidemic placed an incredible strain on the already overburdened health care system in Mississippi and throughout the country,” Don Barrett, an attorney for the hospitals, said. “Now our already stretched hospitals are dealing with the global COVID-19 pandemic and facing unprecedented levels of lost revenue, financial challenges, and supply and staffing shortages. But unlike the coronavirus, the opioid epidemic was man-made. The institutions that designed and profited from that crisis must be held accountable.”
In 2017, for every 100 people in Mississippi, 92.9 opioid prescriptions were written, making the state one of the top five for prescribing the drugs.
The national average was 58.7 prescriptions for every 100 people.
The number of opioids dispensed in 2018 was enough for every person in the state to have 50 doses each.
Nationwide, more than 450 hospitals have filed state-based lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.