If you believe the medication caused tooth decay and other dental problems, you may be able to file a class action lawsuit against Suboxone for the economic and non-economic damages sustained. Working with a Chicago class action attorney could help you recover fair compensation through a strong case with ample evidence proving your damages.
Learn more about what these lawsuits entail and how to file with the help of a lawyer.
Table of Contents
What Are the Grounds for Filing a Lawsuit Against Suboxone?
Indivior manufactures a medication called Suboxone that’s used to treat opioid addiction, but dental injuries have developed in many patients who have taken this medication. Plaintiffs in the recent class action lawsuits claim that Indivior failed to warn patients, doctors, and distributors of the potential risks of taking Suboxone, leading to the surge in lawsuits.
Suboxone is a sublingual film that patients insert into their mouths under the tongue to help with recovery from opioid withdrawal, but studies have linked this medication to certain dental problems, including:
- Tooth erosion
- Severe tooth decay
- Broken teeth and fractures
- Dry mouth
- Inflammation and other issues affecting the gums
The active ingredient behind these problems is likely buprenorphine, which is acidic and known to cause harm to the teeth and gums.
To succeed with a Suboxone lawsuit, you must prove that you used a prescribed Suboxone treatment prior to 2022, that you experienced a level of tooth decay or other dental issues that Suboxone likely accelerated, and that these issues resulted in certain quantifiable damages.
Off-Label Promotion and Marketing Practices
Manufacturers must warn of the risks associated with any consumer product on the market, which Indivior allegedly failed to do, according to recent lawsuits against this company. Although the company began warning of the risks of dental problems resulting from the use of Suboxone as of January 2022, it neglected to do so for 20 years following the drug’s introduction in 2002.
In addition, in 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice pursued False Claims Act (FCA) charges against Indivior, claiming that Indivior companies promoted the use and sale of Suboxone to doctors writing prescriptions that didn’t have a medically necessary or supported purpose between 2010 and 2015. These charges led to a $300 million settlement.
Allegations of Anticompetitive Behavior
Indivior reached another settlement in October 2023 resulting from charges alleging the company prevented generic competitors from distributing Suboxone. Multiple U.S. states and drug wholesalers were part of the claims, which led Indivior to pay a total of $385 million in settlements.
According to the lawsuits, Indivior changed the administration of its medication from a tablet to a sublingual film to maintain a monopoly on the drug, while generic manufacturers still offered a tablet form of the medication at a discounted price.
How an Attorney Can Help You
If you want to file a lawsuit against Indivior for issues related to Suboxone treatments, you may be able to build a case with the help of a class action lawyer. An attorney can discuss a case with you and determine what damages you may recover in a lawsuit.
Steps to Find a Class Action Attorney in Illinois
When seeking the help of a class action attorney in Illinois, you’ll need to find the right attorney to handle your Suboxone case.
The first step to finding the ideal attorney is to look for a lawyer with experience handling class action lawsuits, ideally one who is already involved in Suboxone lawsuits. Look for an attorney who has past successes showing that he or she is capable of handling your case.
In addition, work with a class action attorney who charges a contingency fee. Class action attorneys typically only work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that they won’t charge their clients until and unless they reach a settlement. You should never have to pay upfront costs for representation. However, a class action attorney will ensure you have a viable case before providing representation.
Also, meet with your attorney in a consultation to discuss your case and ask relevant questions to help gauge whether the lawyer is a good fit. For example, the attorney should be able to answer questions like, “What’s a class action lawsuit?” and “How much can I expect to recover in my case?” You should also learn more about what to expect in a class action lawsuit during the consultation as the lawyer discusses the steps involved.
The attorney should also indicate who will handle your case. A large law firm might connect you with paralegals and associate attorneys who can work with you on your case and answer any questions you have along the way. You should never be in the dark regarding your case.
Once you’ve found the right attorney, you may begin developing a lawsuit to recover the damages you sustained due to Indivior’s negligence regarding Suboxone treatment.
Potential Compensation and Damages From a Suboxone Lawsuit
Many patients suffering from opioid addiction have relied on Suboxone for treatment. However, Suboxone tooth decay resulting from its buprenorphine content has led to damages that patients wish to recover in recent lawsuits. This has led to the question, “what damages can I seek in a Suboxone lawsuit?”
Types of Damages
Plaintiffs in the Suboxone lawsuits are claiming that the acidic nature of Suboxone and Indivior’s failure to warn of its dangers led to economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages in these cases include the direct financial losses resulting from tooth decay and other dental problems they suffer. For example, plaintiffs may seek to recover compensation for medical bills, including surgery and other treatments to help treat tooth decay, erosion, and other conditions. In addition, plaintiffs may need to recover compensation for loss of income resulting from the inability to work while recovering from or seeking dental treatments.
Along with economic damages, plaintiffs could recover non-economic damages for the pain and suffering they endure. For instance, plaintiffs may experience anxiety, depression, or trauma as the result of extensive tooth decay and associated treatments. You can prove these damages by maintaining a journal and discussing any distress you’re experiencing, and your lawyer may be able to factor these damages into the total settlement.
A third type of damage you could recover is punitive. In Suboxone lawsuits, plaintiffs may prove that Indivior practiced gross negligence in its failure to warn of the risks of taking Suboxone sublingual treatments. Only the courts can award these damages with the intent of preventing similar levels of negligence in the future, and unlike economic and non-economic damages, they have the goal of punishing the defendant rather than compensating the plaintiff.
Work With an Attorney to Accurately Determine Damages
It can be challenging to calculate all the damages involved in any class action lawsuit. However, an attorney can work with you to identify and quantify all related damages in your case. He or she can assess your case in an initial consultation and collect evidence supporting your case if he or she provides representation.
Some evidence that may support your case include:
- Medical records and bills
- Proof of lost income
- Proof that you received Suboxone treatment in a prescription prior to 2022
- Pain journals and other evidence proving non-economic damages
Your attorney could then work with you to calculate the total compensation owed to you in a lawsuit.
In addition, an attorney can help you file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out for your case. Every civil case has a statute of limitations in place, which dictates how long plaintiffs have to file before they’re unable to recover compensation. In Illinois, for instance, the statute of limitations for class action and other types of personal injury cases is two years from the time of injury or discovery of injury. This means you have two years to file a lawsuit before you’re no longer able to establish a case.
Keep in mind that the average settlement amount in a Suboxone lawsuit is around $50,000 to $150,000, based on the damages that plaintiffs sustain.
Take the Right Steps to Build a Suboxone Lawsuit
With the right approach to your case, you may increase your chances of successfully recovering total compensation in a class action lawsuit against the makers of Suboxone. If you took the sublingual film form of Suboxone containing buprenorphine before the company warned of its risks, you could have a successful case on your hands.
Consult with an attorney to review the details of your case and determine whether you have a viable lawsuit. He or she will let you know the options available to you, including the total amount of compensation you may recover. Your attorney can also detail the specific steps involved in your case to give you a better idea of what to expect.