A Charleston-based law firm has filed a class action suit against 21 medical companies, including the opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma to sue for damages incurred by prenatal exposure to opioids
The suit was filed this week by the firm Thompson and Barney. Kevin Thompson said the intent is to create a fund for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, meaning infants born dependent to opioids.
“In this case the equitable relief would be a medical monitoring fund,” Thompson said.
Thompson said a medical monitoring fund would allow for children to be tested for possible neurological, developmental and behavioral disorders and would fund treatment should it be needed. Rather than placing the burden on families and insurance companies, he said, manufacturers and distributors need to foot the bill.
“From a nationwide basis they have some statutory duties to watch the market and see when there is unusual activity going on,” Thompson said. “The million and millions and millions of pills that went into tiny Kermit and Williamson – the distributers should have stopped it, they should have investigated it, they shouldn’t have just smiled and sent more pills and made money.”
The suit would also create a damages fund that would be released to the children when they turned 18. That money could be used for education, transportation or further medical care as needed.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.