Hospitals enter opioid litigation, sue drugmakers for cost of treating addiction

Hundreds of hospitals have filed lawsuits separate from the ongoing federal opioid trial accusing drugmakers of fueling the opioid crisis, according to NPR.

Opioid overdoses have cost hospitals billions of dollars a year, straining hospitals' resources. Hospitals are now taking similar action as the thousands of states, cities and Native American tribes that have sued drugmakers in an attempt to hold them accountable.

Almost every hospital has handled opioid overdoses, according to NPR, and some overdose patients spend weeks being treated for serious drug-related infections. If those patients don't have insurance, the hospital must absorb the cost.

Hospitals estimate treating complicated overdose patients costs an average of $107,000 per person. Total opioid-related costs to hospitals in 2012 exceeded $15 billion.

The expense of treating opioid-related cases is a leading reason hospitals in Tennessee, Texas, Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi and West Virginia have filed lawsuits against top drugmakers, such as Purdue Pharma.

However, the most prominent hospitals in each state have opted not to join the litigation. The invasive nature of litigation may force hospitals to turn over confidential details of how they set their prices as well as about their relationships with drug companies, according to NPR.

Hospitals also risk drugmakers accusing them of wrongdoing, as up until recently hospital patients were often prescribed large quantities of opioids, contributing to the epidemic. Hospitals could, however, claim they were victims of dubious opioid marketing.

Read the full article here.

More articles on opioids:
4 states, 5 drug companies agree to $48B opioid settlement
Nearly 50% of women are over-prescribed opioids at discharge after C-section
US spent $631B addressing opioid crisis in last 4 years, study finds

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