Poll: Most Americans Don’t Blame Drug Companies for Opioid Crisis

An Illinois firefighter treats an overdose victim as she is transported to a hospital.
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“Big Pharma” is being targeted with lawsuits seeking financial settlements for their role in the opioid epidemic that led to the death of more than 70,000 Americans in 2017 alone. But a poll shows that most people don’t blame these drug companies first for the huge loss of life across the United States.

The Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey reveals 32 percent of American adults believe drug companies are responsible for the opioid epidemic. Another 55 percent put the blame elsewhere: 23 percent said the blame lies with doctors who prescribe the drugs and 32 percent say the person who uses them is responsible for their fate.

Thirteen percent are undecided, the poll shows.

The Associated Press (AP) reported on the the negotiated end to the first federal lawsuit placing blame on and seeking financial reparations from drug makers:

The nation’s three biggest drug distributors and a major drugmaker agreed to an 11th-hour, $260 million settlement Monday over the terrible toll taken by opioids in two Ohio counties, averting the first federal trial over the crisis.

The trial, involving Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County and Akron’s Summit County, was seen as a critical test case that could have gauged the strength of the opposing sides’ arguments and prodded the industry and its foes toward a nationwide resolution of nearly all lawsuits over opioids, the scourge blamed for 400,000 U.S. deaths in the past two decades.

Drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson will pay a combined $215 million, said Hunter Shkolnik, a lawyer for Cuyahoga County. Israeli-based drugmaker Teva will contribute $20 million in cash and $25 million worth of generic Suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction.

AP reported that the settlement does not include any admission of wrongdoing by the drug companies.

The survey of 1,000 American adults was conducted October 21-22. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

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