Infant Opioid Addiction Lawsuits

As a result of the opioid addiction crisis, thousands of babies in the U.S. became addicted to opioids in utero and were born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and suffered opioid withdrawal at birth. Parents of these children are now filing lawsuits against the opioid manufacturers. If your child was diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome or opioid withdrawal at birth, contact our national mass tort lawyers today to see if you qualify.

Over the past two decades, the number of opioid prescriptions has nearly quadrupled, fueling the ongoing opioid epidemic that has swept through our nation and brought devastation to countless families and communities. Recent estimates reveal that a baby born addicted to opioids emerges in the U.S. approximately every 19 minutes, with many newborns experiencing drug withdrawal symptoms and potential developmental issues daily.

The blame for this crisis often falls on drug manufacturers and distributors who knowingly played down the risks of opioid painkillers leading to physical dependency. Several pharmaceutical companies have faced repercussions for their deceptive and unlawful marketing of drugs like OxyContin, which, like other opiates, can serve as a gateway to heroin use. The consequences of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) can be profound, potentially resulting in lifelong complications and substantial medical costs that can place significant financial strain on families. You and your baby should not have to endure such traumatic circumstances.

Infant Opioid Lawsuit News & Updates

April 17, 2024:  Endo Health Solutions Inc. pleaded guilty in a Michigan federal court to falsely marketing its drug, Opana ER, as “crush proof” and “abuse deterrent.” This plea was part of a broader agreement to settle nearly $2 billion in civil and criminal claims related to the drug’s marketing and safety information.

The company faced one misdemeanor count of violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act due to the inadequate labeling of Opana ER and its aggressive promotion as tamper-resistant despite FDA instructions against such labeling. This misinformation was disseminated by sales reps who even used hammers on sample pills to demonstrate their resistance to crushing. In response to mounting legal and regulatory pressure, Endo voluntarily withdrew Opana ER from the market in 2017. Amidst ongoing financial challenges, including $8 billion in debt and thousands of lawsuits primarily concerning its opioid products, Endo sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August 2022. A settlement under this bankruptcy proceeding will allow the government to recover up to $464.9 million over ten years, or a $200 million immediate payment when the company exits bankruptcy.

About Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a condition that occurs in newborns who are exposed to addictive substances, particularly opioids, while in the womb. When a pregnant woman uses opioids or other drugs, these substances can pass through the placenta and reach the developing fetus. The fetus can become dependent on these drugs before birth.


After delivery, when the supply of the drug is suddenly cut off, the newborn’s body may experience withdrawal symptoms. This collection of symptoms is known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. The severity and duration of NAS can vary depending on several factors, including the type of drug used, the amount and frequency of drug use by the mother, and whether the baby was born prematurely.

Symptoms of NAS can include:

Irritability and fussiness: The baby may be unusually irritable, crying excessively, and difficult to console.

Difficulty feeding: Babies with NAS may have trouble feeding or have a poor sucking reflex.

Tremors or shaking: The newborn may exhibit tremors or trembling movements, particularly in the arms and legs.

High-pitched crying: The baby’s cry may be high-pitched and frantic.

Sleep problems: NAS can cause sleep disturbances, including difficulty staying asleep or irregular sleep patterns.

Seizures: In severe cases, babies may experience seizures.

Gastrointestinal problems: NAS can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive sucking.

Hyperactive reflexes: The baby may have exaggerated reflexes, such as twitching or jitters.

In addition to these symptoms, research indicates that NAS can trigger several other neonatal complications that can result in serious outcomes. Neonatal health conditions and complications that have been linked to NAS include: jaundice, low birth weight, and kidney problems.

The management of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome typically involves providing supportive care to the newborn while they go through withdrawal. This may include using medications such as morphine or methadone to gradually wean the baby off the drug and alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Close monitoring and care by a healthcare team are crucial to ensure the baby’s well-being during this challenging period.

The long-term impact of NAS is not fully yet understood, but anecdotal evidence and preliminary research indicates the condition can lead to:

Developmental growth delays

Behavioral and cognitive problems

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Vision and hearing impairment

Motor development problems

Infant Opioid Addiction NAS Lawsuits

Millions of adults in the U.S. have suffered from opioid addiction over the last 2 decades. A large share of blame for this epidemic has been placed on Purdue Pharma and other companies that manufactured and then aggressively marketed these drugs. Opioids include drugs like fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, methadone, suboxone, and others and are often sold under brand names like OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Demerol, and a host of other names.

A group of U.S. states successfully brought a class action lawsuit against the drug companies to get compensation for the costs they incurred in treating this public health crisis. That class action recently resulted in a multi-billion dollar settlement which will help the states pay for the burden of the opioid epidemic.

Individuals who became addicted to opioids have never been able to bring successful legal claims against the drug manufacturers, however, because there own negligence was largely to blame for their addiction. That is obviously not the case for infants who are born addicted to opioids because of their mother’s addiction. These infants are entirely innocent victims of the opioid epidemic and, therefore, they have the legal ability to sue the drug companies.

A growing number of infant opioid addiction lawsuits are now being filed across the country. These lawsuits are being filed by parents on behalf of the infants. The plaintiffs in these infant opioid addiction lawsuits allege that drug companies like Purdue (and others) were negligent in understating the addictive nature of their opioid drugs. The initial drug labels for many opioids suggested to doctors and patients that they carried a very low risk of addiction. The truth, however, was that the drugs were extremely addictive  and the drug companies were very much aware of that fact.

In addition to grossly understating the addictive nature of new opioid drugs, the drug companies also engaged in overly aggressively, sometimes deceptive marketing practices in an effort to push doctors to write prescriptions. The opioid infant lawsuits seek to hold the drug manufacturers accountable for the devastating cost of their actions.

Defendants in the Opioid Lawsuits

Opioids include drugs like fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, methadone, suboxone, and others and are often sold under brand names like OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Demerol, and a host of other names. Although these drugs have been manufactured by various companies, there are primarily 2 main pharmaceutical companies being named as defendants in the infant opioid addiction lawsuits: Purdue Pharma and Endo Health Solutions Inc.

Purdue Pharma

The allegations describe how Purdue Pharma continued a deceptive marketing strategy for OxyContin despite knowing its high potential for abuse and addiction. According to the 2007 statement by U.S. Attorney John L. Brownlee and Purdue’s own admissions as part of its guilty plea for felony misbranding, the company persistently marketed OxyContin as a drug that was less addictive and less likely to be abused than other pain medications. This marketing occurred even though internal and external warnings indicated the drug’s significant risks and widespread abuse.

Purdue trained its sales force to falsely reassure healthcare providers about the safety of OxyContin, misrepresenting the drug’s addictiveness and potential for abuse. They were instructed to claim that the drug had minimal “peak and trough” effects, reducing euphoria and, by extension, abuse potential. Additionally, Purdue wrongly informed healthcare providers that patients could cease OxyContin use abruptly without withdrawal symptoms and that the drug did not produce euphoria or a “buzz,” misleadingly suggesting a lower risk of addiction.

As part of the legal repercussions, Purdue pleaded guilty in 2007 and agreed to pay $600 million in fines, one of the largest settlements at the time for pharmaceutical misconduct. The company is in ruins and is in bankruptcy. Despite this, allegations persist that Purdue continued similar deceptive marketing practices, underscoring a systemic issue with far-reaching implications for public health, particularly in the context of the opioid crisis.

Endo Health Solutions

From the outset, Endo’s marketing campaign for Opana ER was laden with misleading claims aimed at driving the drug’s sales. These deceptive tactics included advertisements that falsely stated the long-term benefits of opioids for chronic non-cancer pain and misleading information about the addiction risks associated with their prolonged use. Additionally, Endo financially backed pro-opioid organizations, contributing over $5 million to the APP, which perpetuated some of the most flagrant opioid-related distortions. These organizations often downplayed the risks of addiction and overstated the benefits of opioids in their patient education materials.

Endo’s promotional strategies also involved trivializing the dangers of long-term opioid use without adequately disclosing the significant addiction risks. This was evident in the stark contrast between the company’s unbranded marketing materials, which significantly downplayed addiction risks, and its branded materials, which adhered more strictly to the addiction warnings mandated on the Opana ER label. Through these actions, Endo contributed significantly to the misleading public perception of the safety and efficacy of long-term opioid use.

Potential Settlement Value of Infant Opioid Addiction Cases

It is obviously way too early in this litigation to say with any certainty what the settlement value of the infant opioid addiction lawsuits could be. We can, however, offer an education guess as to the potential settlement value based on the assumption that they are ultimately successful.

We think that successful opioid addiction lawsuits will fall into 2 settlement tiers, with the strongest cases in the top or first tier and the lesser cases in the second tier.  Our lawyers predict that the top tier infant opioid addiction lawsuits could have a settlement value range of $325,000 to $800,000, depending on the severity of the child’s injuries. The lower tier cases (those involving less serious injuries) could have a settlement value range of $75,000 to $200,000.

Contact Us About Infant Opioid Addiction Lawsuits

If your child was born with opioid addiction and/or diagnosed with opioid dependency or neonatal abstinence syndrome, contact us today for a free consultation. We are currently accepting qualifying infant opioid cases in all 50 states. Call us at 800-553-8082 or contact us online.

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