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2 hospitals sue pharmaceutical companies over opioid crisis

Two hospitals in Escambia County have filed lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies claiming that the companies are in some way responsible for the ever-growing opioid epidemic in the county. The two hospitals are seeking the claim in hopes that they can recover the costs associated with treating patients addicted to opioids.

The news reports that the Jay and Baptist Hospitals, both of which are owned by Baptist Health Care, filed the lawsuit against 23 pharmaceutical companies and their subsidiaries. They believe these individuals are perpetuating the need to treat opioid addictions in Escambia County.

The spokeswoman for Baptist Health Care believes this is the first lawsuit of its kind, but she doesn't believe it will be the last. Many hospitals are struggling to treat people as they arrive overdosed on opioids. Many times, these are prescription medication-related overdoses, and other times, the individuals turned to illegal opioids to feed their addictions and dependencies.

Hospitals often treat these patients without any reimbursement. They see overdoses every day. The cost of treatment isn't the only issue; taking up the time of the staff and using up resources puts strain on hospitals that also need to treat other kinds of patients.

Some companies claim that the role of the pharmaceutical company is misunderstood. However, the hospitals claim that the defendants are profiting by allowing certain geographic areas to become overrun with opioids, which can lead to patients with addictions and a further need for opioid prescriptions and production.

Sometimes, prescription drugs become a problem because of companies and medical providers who prescribe them too freely. If that's found to be the case, the lawsuit could help reduce the number of opioids on the streets.

Source: Pensacola News Journal, "Two Escambia County hospitals sue pharmaceutical companies over opioid epidemic," Emma Kennedy, Nov. 21, 2017

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