NEW ORLEANS, June 19, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- A legal-medical partnership, on behalf of opioid-dependent babies and children of prescription-opioid using mothers in the United States, has filed class action lawsuits in 34 of the 48 states reporting hospital births in this category since 1996.
Named as defendants in the class actions are an array of pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors and retailers, all of whom, according to the lawsuits, allegedly netted billions of dollars due to unfair and deceptive trade practices that preyed on all Americans, including the unborn.
"The number of babies testing positive for opioids in utero is alarming and the impact these children will have on their families and other institutions who help address their long-term medical and development needs is astronomical," said Attorney Celeste Brustowicz on behalf of the Opioid Justice Team.
The suits seek to create a medical monitoring trust fund for these children funded by the prescription drug industry, rather than local governments, which is currently being advocated by drug industry attorneys through a lump sum settlement to cover all claims in filed litigation.
For more than a year, Ms. Brustowicz, along with other attorneys and doctors, have worked to get children born to prescription opioid-dependent and using mothers recognized as their own legal class within the national opioid litigation, just as counties, cities, hospitals, indigenous peoples, and state attorney generals are fighting to do.
Ms. Brustowicz said legal efforts on behalf of children are being opposed by the drug industry and their attorneys. She and other counsel in her team will argue for these children and their families this fall before Judge Polster.
The lawsuits allege there is and will be a continuous impact from the manufactured opioid epidemic on America's children and their families, as well as the healthcare, educational and community institutions who will bear the costs of caring for these children with developmental disabilities, as well as increased risk of addictive traits of their own and seeks to create a medical monitoring trust fund for these children funded by the prescription drug industry, rather than local governments.
Statistics that have been compiled by the Centers for Disease Control document that first-year Medicaid costs for opioid-exposed infants are approximately $238,000 and the annual costs to hospital Neo-natal Intensive Care Units has increased fivefold to nearly $316 million a year in less than a decade. These estimates do not cover costs borne by family caregivers or foster-care institutions who will care for the infants once released to homes.
The legal-medial partnership says The March of Dimes, the Child Welfare League, the National Association for Children of Addiction, and the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice agrees with their with their efforts.
The 34 states represented in the legal filings are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana,Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.
SOURCE Opioid Justice Team