Physicians Regional one of 27 hospitals in Florida suing opioid drug manufacturers

Published: September 20, 2019 5:00 PM EDT
Updated: September 20, 2019 5:16 PM EDT

Opioids are blamed for ruining lives and families. Now, dozens of hospitals are trying to hold those who make and sell them accountable.

Physicians Regional Healthcare System in Collier County is one of 27 hospitals in Florida suing opioid drug manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

The lawsuit claims the hospitals are “Incurring unreimbursable costs” to treat opioid-addicted patients.

Hospital lawyer William Scherer said, “The hospital industry the health care industry has suffered billions and billions of dollars of damages.”

Scherer is the lead attorney and told WINK News by phone, the drug industry pumped out pills and lied to doctors and hospitals about the danger, “They ought to be responsible for what they caused.”

Scherer says a patient addicted to opioids is eight times more expensive to treat than a patient who is not addicted.

Insurance picks up part of the tab, and hospitals are forced to pay the rest when patients don’t.

What does that mean for us?

“It drives up the cost of care for the hospitals,” Scherer said. “Ultimately, society pays for all of it.”

WINK News reached out to several defendants named in the lawsuit.

Johnson and Johnson said in a statement, Janssen – a pharmaceutical company they own –responsibly marketed their medicines which have accounted for less than one percent of total opioid prescriptions in the United States.

Physicians Regional declined to comment on its role in the lawsuit.

Their lawyer told us a lawsuit like this could take a couple of years to resolve.