NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — The Tennessee Supreme Court has unanimously held that drug companies may be sued by babies harmed from their mothers' use of opioids.
Endo Health Solutions Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., drug companies that manufacture prescription opioids, may be sued with the hold on the Tennessee Drug Dealer Liability Act.
Under the act, these babies can "sue for damages caused by the use of illegal opioids if there is clear and convincing evidence that the drug companies knowingly facilitated the distribution of opioids in the illegal drug market," a news release said.
The Tennessee Supreme Court also held that seven District Attorneys General who sued these companies under the act did not have standing.
The lawsuit stems from a case in Campbell County Circuit Court. The law declares that "the sale and use of illegal drugs affects every community in the country and takes a substantial toll on society."
Although the drug companies argued that they were not the type of “drug dealers” the Legislature meant to target with the Act, Justice Lee, on behalf of the Court, wrote that the drug companies could not “invoke their status as otherwise lawful companies to avoid civil liability” for intentionally flooding “communities in East Tennessee with highly addictive opioids they knew would be sold in the illegal drug market.”
Read the full opinion of the court here.