Citizens do not think pharma companies are liable for drug abuse - 294 citizens, 684 responses

Oct 03, 2015

In September, NH Attorney General Joseph Foster announced he was investigating a possible lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies marketing prescription painkillers such as OxyContin to Granite State doctors. In light of the issue, the LFDA put the question to Facebook members, asking, “Should pharmaceutical companies be held liable for the abuse of prescription painkillers?”

A total of 71% of respondents answered the question directly or with a concurrence. Out of these responses, a 69% majority said they did not think pharmaceutical companies should be held liable, with 31% arguing they should, in fact, be held accountable. Of the remaining respondents, a higher-than-average 26% opted to discuss the subject in broader terms while 3% commented on unrelated issues. In sum, 294 citizens participated in the discussion with a total of 684 responses. 

Those against holding companies liable argued that proper use of medications is a matter of personal responsibility. “People should be responsible for their own actions, rather than blaming everybody else but themselves,” a commenter wrote. Others expressed concerns about the possible consequences of such lawsuits. “When I'm hurt and need relief from horrible pain, I don't want the doctor to fear the liability of giving something that actually works,” a commenter wrote. “If you want fewer medical choices at higher prices, blame away,” another said. 

Those in favor of the lawsuit countered that pharmaceutical companies “are the biggest drug dealers in the world,” in the words of one commenter. “They should be liable for not telling the American public the truth about their products,” another respondent wrote. Other commenters compared the issue to the liability of the tobacco industry for the negative effects of cigarette smoking. 

A significant portion of respondents did not give a yes or no response, instead addressing their comments to broader issues. Many of these respondents questioned whether the doctors who prescribe pain medications should be held liable for addiction or abuse. Others shared personal stories of overcoming addiction or dealing with chronic pain. 

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

Do you think pharmacueutical companies should be held liable for abuse of their products? Leave a comment and share your thoughts. 

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