Two Courts Debunk Persistent Opioid Myths
Reason magazine|March 2022
Since 2014, state and local governments have filed thousands of lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies they blame for causing the “opioid crisis” by exaggerating the benefits and minimizing the risks of prescription pain medication. The theory underlying these cases is pretty straightforward: Drug manufacturers lied, and people died.
By Jacob Sullum

Two recent rulings show how misleading this widely accepted narrative is. Both decisions recognized that undertreatment of pain is a real problem and that bona fide patients rarely become addicted to prescription opioids, let alone die as a result.

Three California counties, joined by the city of Oakland, started the flood of litigation against opioid manufacturers with a 2014 lawsuit arguing that they created a “public nuisance” by encouraging increased use of their products through a false or misleading marketing campaign. In a scathing November 1 ruling, Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter J. Wilson concluded that the plaintiffs had failed to prove any of their allegations.

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