The opioid epidemic continues to dominate the public discourse. The question remains, “What can be done about it?” The number of accidental deaths related to opioids and the number of people addicted to them have been on the rise. Some believe such accidental deaths are driven by the proliferation of opioid prescriptions. Between 1991 and 2011, opioid prescriptions supplied by retail pharmacies increased from 76 million to 219 million – a 5.4% CAGR. Several state attorneys general believe drug makers have, in certain instances, fraudulently misrepresented the serious side effects of opioid use.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, about 400,000 people died from drug overdose deaths involving opioids from 1999 to 2017. Thousands of communities across the country have been ravaged by the opioid crisis. Communities are suing for runaway costs related to first responders, hospitals and public services allegedly caused by the opioid crisis. A few months ago Judge Dan A. Polster appointed lead council for a proposed global opioid settlement. Lead counsel, plaintiffs and defendants have moved with all godspeed. Teva CEO Kare Schultz is cautiously optimistic on an opioid deal. In addition, there could be more upside ahead from a potential coronavirus treatment.