Freeman News

Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors

April 17, 2020

Twelve Missouri Hospitals Help to Ensure a Voice in the Opioid Crisis and Settlements

Today, Freeman Health System joined with 11 other Missouri hospitals to file a civil suit against manufacturers, distributors and retailers of opioid-based drugs. We wanted to inform you about this news, given the fact that stories about the suit may be shared in the media.

There are a variety of reasons why we elected to join this suit. One ties to drug manufacturers’ deceptive marketing messages to hospitals and physicians, which long claimed there was a low risk of developing dependence when prescribing opioids to treat chronic pain. Information from the companies also overstated the benefits of opioids and trivialized the risk of long-term use.

As information became clearer about the actual risks and implications of long-term opioid use, Freeman Health System made a variety of changes to avoid prescribing opioids whenever possible. However, those shifts do not erase high medical costs for associated treatment for individuals who are addicted to opioids. Freeman Health System has long subsidized many of these expenses, leading to a financial burden for the health system.

The goal of participating in this suit is to ultimately secure financial funding from drug manufacturers and distributors to help offset the high associated costs of treating patients with opioid addiction.


Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2019, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers.  U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2019.  With more than 300 physicians on staff representing more than 70 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit