For more than two decades, the opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc on our country, killing hundreds of thousands of Americans, destroying lives, splitting families, and costing taxpayers billions upon billions of dollars. Among the thousands of legal actions being fought against opioid manufacturers and distributors, the State of Florida is finally having its day in court with the trial of its claims originally brought in 2018 commencing the week of April 5. Through it all, Infotech Consulting has been part of a team of experts retained by the State to examine the economic impact of the opioid epidemic in Florida and ensure that the Defendants (in this case, 12 major manufacturers and distributors) do not profit from the opioid crisis.
As trial begins against the sole remaining defendant, Walgreens, Infotech Consulting will be the first team to present damages estimates to a jury. Dr. Jim McClave, CEO and Expert Statistician/Econometrician, and Dr. Rob Kneuper, Expert Economist, are expected to testify as expert witnesses on behalf of the State of Florida. Infotech Consulting is proud to be part of a large and dedicated trial team, working to hold accountable those who contributed to the opioid crisis.
According to its Amended Complaint against the opioid manufacturers and distributors, the State of Florida alleged, “Defendants cooperated to sell and ship ever-increasing quantities of opioids into Florida. To create newfound demand for opioids, Defendants used unfair and misleading marketing- including the use of front groups, paid “opinion leaders,” and Continuing Medical Education courses (“CMEs”) – to convince both doctors and patients that opioids could safely be prescribed for common ailments that cause chronic pain. To meet the artificially inflated demand, Defendants sold, shipped, and dispensed opioids in quantities that could not possibly have been medically justified and in the face of clear evidence that opioids were being diverted for illegitimate uses. Defendants’ plan succeeded, and they recorded multibillion-dollar profits as a result.”
Infotech Consulting experts Dr. Jim McClave and Dr. Rob Kneuper were hired in this case to analyze two distinct economic impacts of the Opioid Epidemic: damages to the State of Florida and profits made by the defendants as a result of the opioid crisis. Dr. McClave’s analysis, which worked to quantify the historical damages to Florida as a result of the defendants’ alleged misconduct, covered a variety of costs inflated as a result of the opioid crisis, including healthcare costs, criminal justice costs, child welfare costs, drug treatment costs, and lost tax revenue. Dr. Kneuper analyzed Defendants’ profits resulting from their sale and distribution of opioids. The Infotech Consulting team spent the last several years preparing these detailed analyses.
The State of Florida has reached settlements with 11 of the 12 Defendants to date. Recently, Florida reached agreements totaling $870 million with defendants CVS, Allergan, and Teva. The State previously had secured $1.6 billion from other defendants as part of a previous nation-wide settlement.