The opioid epidemic has impacted nearly every state in the union. People are overdosing and in many cases dying by the thousands every day because of opioid abuse. Statistics in many recreational marijuana states show that the rate of opioid overdose deaths, along with the amount of marijuana prescriptions being filled, have lessened as of late. Many cannabis legalization advocates use these statistics to leverage their argument for legalization which would benefit the cannabis industry. While there is some positive for the cannabis industry there are lessons to be learned by the cannabis industry from the manufacturers of these opioid drugs. Opioid manufacturers are being sued by states, municipalities, and various advocacy groups across the country in class action law suits. The drug manufacturers are being sued for contributing to the growing opioid crisis and misleading the public on the addictive nature of the drugs and pushing them as an effective way to treat chronic pain, contrary to overwhelming evidence.
You may be asking what is the connection to cannabis businesses and how does it tie to cannabis insurance? While cannabis does not seem to create the same issues as opioids, there is no guarantee or sure way to know how people will respond when they take any substance. If consumers and or the public feel that they have been harmed in any way due to consuming cannabis manufactured and sold legally, there is potential for a claim against the dispensary, the cannabis lab testing facility or the manufacturer. Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions (E&O insurance), is a special type of coverage that protects cannabis companies against claims that a service your company provided caused your customer or client to suffer financial harm due to mistakes on your part, or because you failed to perform some service. If one of your employees gives a customer the wrong information about a product, or a product is mislabeled, or if any number of things occur that could lead to perceived harm, your business could be held liable for those damages.
A coalition of 41 states’ attorneys general have served five major opioid manufacturers with subpoenas seeking information about how these companies marketed and sold prescription opioids. The coalition is also demanding documents and information related to distribution practices from three drug distributors.
The investigative subpoenas and document requests were sent to pharmaceutical manufacturers Endo International, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd./Cephalon Inc. and Allergan. The group also served a supplemental investigative subpoena to Purdue Pharma. Documents were also requested of three major pharmaceutical distributors: AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson.
The fight against opioid manufacturers is also extending to local municipalities, who are waging their own wars against the deadly epidemic. Bensalem Township is bringing claims against several drug companies and their subsidiaries, including Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Cephalon, Johnson & Johnson and Endo Pharmaceuticals. Similar litigation is already underway in Oklahoma, Ohio and Mississippi. However, in Philadelphia, construction workers are especially susceptible to injury and, as a result, often turn to opioids for rehabilitation, Dougherty said. But addiction is never far behind.
S2S Insurance Specialists are aware of the risks that may be out of your control as a cannabis business owner. It is important the business owners work with cannabis insurance specialists who understand the landscape. Eric Rahn of S2S Insurance asks, “if the crap hits the fan, are you prepared or will you be left holding a crap covered fan?” Contact Eric or any of the specialists at S2S Insurance today.