A class action lawsuit in Niagara County is taking aim at more than a dozen drug companies, claiming the pharmaceutical giants are to blame for a 13-month-old’s medical complications.
The child, identified in the suit as “Baby C.E.” was born addicted to opioids, having been born to an addicted mother, identified as “A.M.H.”
The lawsuit claims that prior to her pregnancy, the mother was prescribed narcotics which caused her to become addicted. She later turned to heroin.
Baby C.E. was born suffering from violent tremors, uncontrollable shaking, and issues feeding, among other things; all results of opioid withdrawal, according to the lawsuit.
The suit wants the drug companies to held financially liable for Baby C.E’s ongoing medical costs, among other things.
According to the lawsuit, the companies knowingly or negligently created the mother’s addiction by creating “conditions in which vast amounts of opioids have flowed freely to drug manufactures.”
Legal analyst Barry Covert told News 4 if this litigation is successful, it will set a major precedent for drug companies moving forward.
“As opposed to a patient who the pharmaceutical companies can claim well that person abused, that person made the decision to abuse, that person had a role in this, they’re bringing this lawsuit of an infant and a class action potentially on behalf of other infants who had no choice. It’s going to be very interesting to see how it plays out and it’s going to be fought very strongly by the pharmaceutical companies and their lawyers,” Covert said.
Suits similar to this one are pending in Ohio and in Suffolk County, New York.
The suit states that drug addicted births is a growing problem nation-wide and in New York state, citing a NYSDOH statistic that Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome among newborns rose from 1.9 per every 1,000 hospital births per year in 2005 to 5.2 per every 1,000 hospital births per year in 2014.
“Excluding New York City, that rate rises to 8.5 per 1,000 hospital births” the suit said.
This is a developing story.