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Is Big Pharma Responsible for Opioid-addicted Babies?

Is Big Pharma Responsible for Opioid-addicted Babies?

As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, a lawsuit has been filed in Pennsylvania against drug companies on behalf of children born to mothers who use opioids.  These children face long-term health challenges, starting with symptoms of withdrawal at birth and later, as some studies suggest, behavioral, cognitive, vision and movement problems.  Many of the affected babies will need specialized medical attention and care throughout their lives, all the result of exposure to opioids while they were in the womb.

The lawsuit seeks to hold big pharma accountable for the impact the drugs have had on these children, charging that the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture opioids should have to pay for the medical care needed by these children.  Because, as the lawsuit alleges, pharmaceutical companies knowingly misled doctors and patients about the risks of opioid addiction, they are responsible for the babies’ mothers’ addictions and, in turn, responsible for the adverse health conditions these children struggle with.

As the Inquirer article reports, this is just one of many lawsuits that blame big pharma for today’s opioid epidemic, thanks to their false claims that the drugs are less addictive than they turned out to be.  In this case, however, the plaintiffs are not opioid addicts but rather, their children.

It will be interesting to see how the case plays out.  On one hand, it can be difficult to identify if a child’s symptoms are truly the result of opioid exposure, as exposure to alcohol and other drugs, as well as environmental and genetic factors, can exhibit with similar symptoms.  Moreover, the court will have to decide if the pharmaceutical companies knowingly misled doctors and patients.  On the other hand, there are few things as compelling as the health and welfare of newborn babies, particularly those who suffer through no fault of their own.

To read the entire article, follow this link:

Photo by Julie Johnson on Unsplash