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Chicago Considers Lawsuit against Makers of Narcotic Painkillers

The City of Chicago says it is considering a lawsuit against the makers of narcotic painkillers. According to The New York Times, in anticipation of a possible lawsuit, the City of Chicago is investigating whether manufacturers of narcotics overstated their benefits and understated their risks. Specifically, the investigation is assessing whether the risks associated with patient addiction was properly disclosed.

Depending on the results of the investigation, which began in summer, the city may seek to recover millions of dollars in health care costs spent on painkillers used to treat city employees and retirees.

The city's investigation is focusing on a class of drugs called opioids, such as Oxycontin. Over the past two decades, retail prescriptions for opioids have tripled, despite the fact that doctors had previously been hesitant to prescribe opioids for medical conditions other than cancer and acute pain. Much of the increase in sales is attributed to the medical opinions provided by pharmaceutical companies telling doctors that opioids were not addictive. Upon closer inspection, however, concerns have surfaced have about the validity of the medical opinions provided by the drug makers who stood to gain from increased use of the drugs.

Although narcotic painkillers are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), significant evidence has surfaced in recent months indicating that certain opioid narcotics, such as Oxycontin, are addictive - so addictive, in fact, that prescription painkiller addiction might be even more prevalent that cocaine or heroin use. According to a Washington Post article published earlier this year, nearly 2 million people have become addicted to narcotic painkillers, but the pharmaceutical industry has continued to deny this fact.

Chicago's investigation came to light when a September court filing asking a judge to enforce a subpoena against the Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit of Johnson & Johnson was provided to The New York Times. Although the discovered court filing was specific to Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the scope of Chicago's investigation is industry wide and seeks to determine whether companies deceptively promoted opioid painkillers as safe and effective for the treatment of chronic pain without sufficient evidence to support such claims.

The Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are committed to protecting the public from dangerous medical products, including unsafe pharmaceuticals and defective medical devices. If you have been injured by an unsafe medicine or defective medical devicecontact the Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible product liability or medical malpractice claim.


Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  ( is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.

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