It happens easily enough – someone falls, or is injured, and goes to see their doctor.  The doctor prescribes a painkiller and the person leaves feeling better.  Unfortunately, this is the first step to prescription painkiller addiction for many people.  The problem lies with big pharmaceutical manufacturers that create and market these drugs.  The companies and related entities have engaged in a long-term campaign going as far as to create fake pain advocacy groups to alter public perceptions of the narcotics.  This has resulted in increased use and increased instances of addiction.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription opioid deaths more than quadrupled since 1999. In fact, there were 16,651 death in 2010 compared to 4,030 deaths involving painkillers in 1999.

Chicago, the third-biggest U.S. city, sued Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and four other drug companies, including Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals, for allegedly pushing consumer use of opioid painkillers, creating addicts and driving up its costs.  “For years, big pharma has deceived the public about the true risks and benefits of highly potent and highly addictive painkillers in order to expand their customer base and increase their bottom line,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement yesterday. “It’s time for these companies to end these irresponsible practices and be held accountable.” 

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Our team of Virginia Beach personal injury lawyers have seen the effects of dangerous drugs on clients and we’ve handled dangerous drug and medication cases involving painkillers.  One such drug is Fentanyl. It is one of the most powerful opioidanalgesics with a potency approximately 81 times that of morphine.  A number of fatal fentanyl overdoses have been directly tied to the drug over the past several years. In particular, several drug manufacturers of time-release fentanyl patches have already been sued over allegations of defective product claims as well as other claims. One of several claims is that a malfunction of the patch caused an overdose of fentanyl to leak and to be absorbed by patients, resulting in life-threatening side effects and even death.