Drug Overdose Deaths Skyrocketed In 2017, But Can Drug Manufacturers Be Held Liable For Overdoses?

October 5, 2018
On behalf of The Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg Posted in Premises Liability

Not long ago, we were told that car accidents killed more Americans than any other non-disease cause. But this is no longer true, as drug overdose deaths hit a record high in the United States.

As the opioid crisis in the U.S. continues to get worse by the year despite all the measures adopted and proposed by lawmakers and safety advocates, more than 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in the period between January 2017 and January 2018.

Our defective product attorney from the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg explains that the previous year marked a 6.6 percent increase compared to the 2016 figures. With drug overdoses accounting for a higher death toll compared to any other non-disease cause of death, including homicides and car crashes, it is time to hold drug manufacturers accountable.

But is it even possible to do that? Can drug manufacturers be held liable for fatalities caused by drug overdoses and addictions? In order to answer this question, it is important to understand what is behind the increase in drug overdose deaths.

Opioids and the uptick in drug overdose deaths in the U.S.

The increase in drug overdose fatalities in the U.S. is mainly caused by the ever-growing use of such synthetic opioids as Fentanyl. In fact, in 2017 alone, nearly 30,000 Americans died from synthetic opioid overdoses. The harm caused by synthetic opioids has prompted safety groups to call on California lawmakers to ban opioid drugs in the U.S.

Fact: Did you know that Fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin and is relatively easy and cheap to make?

The problem with Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are that they are often mixed with other, equally addictive drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, especially when purchased by patients on the streets. In that case, it is nearly impossible to hold drug manufacturers liable for wrongful death.

Suing drug manufacturers for drug overdose

But when a patient dies from a drug overdose and the drug was purchased through a pharmacy, the legal theory of product liability may apply as long as your case falls into one of the following three categories:

  • Defects in manufacturing: If you can prove that your loved one died because the drug manufacturer did something wrong in the process of manufacturing the drug, which eventually resulted in an overdose, you may be entitled to sue the manufacturer. The only way to detect a defect in a drug often requires hiring an experienced product liability attorney in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California.
  • Defects in design: Although this type of product liability lawsuit is rather rare, it does not change the fact that drug overdoses caused by defective design exist. Some drugs pose an unreasonable risk to people even when no errors were made during manufacturing. If a defectively designed drug killed your family member, do not hesitate to hire a wrongful death attorney, and seek compensation.
  • Defects in warning: Inadequate or non-existent warnings and instructions in drugs can be just as dangerous, as failure to provide accurate warnings often results in drug addictions and overdoses. People must be aware that they are taking potentially addictive drugs and must be careful when administering them.

As you can see, it is actually possible to hold drug manufacturers liable for deaths caused by drug overdose. Consult with our attorney from the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg to speak about the legal options available in your particular case. Call our offices at 310-997-0904 today.


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