As a landmark trial begins over who should pay for the nation’s opioid crisis, a new report estimates the epidemic has cost the U.S. economy at least $631 billion — and that more than two-thirds of that toll fell on individuals and the private sector, The Washington Post reports.
A study released this week by the Society of Actuaries identified which parts of the economy have suffered the most from one of this century’s worst public health crises. The actuaries found that the epidemic’s biggest costs stemmed from the unrealized earnings of those killed by the highly addictive painkillers and health care expenditures during the four-year study period ending in 2018. They also projected that the 2019 price tag would range from $172 billion to as much as $214 billion. The report was released as a federal trial on the epidemic was getting underway in Cleveland, a case widely seen as a bellwether for how future lawsuits against drug companies are handled.