The combined lawsuit from local and state governments from all across the country is being closely watched by a nation held in the grip of the opioid epidemic. Experts expect a reckoning for the companies much like the Big Tobacco settlement in the 1990s.
Bloomberg: Opioid-Industry Claims Proceed As Judge Cites `Man-Made Plague’
Calling the U.S. opioid epidemic a “man-made plague,’’ the judge overseeing local governments’ lawsuits targeting makers and distributors of the painkillers cleared test cases to move forward. U.S. District Judge Dan Polster concluded Wednesday it “would not be appropriate’’ to throw out racketeering, conspiracy and public nuisance claims against drugmakers including Purdue Pharma LP and Johnson & Johnson, and distributors McKesson Corp. and Cardinal Health Inc. “at this early stage’’ of the litigation. (Feeley, 12/20)
In other news on the opioid crisis —
Stat: NY Law Forcing Opioid Makers To Pay Surcharges Ruled Unconstitutional
In a setback to states fighting the opioid epidemic, a federal judge ruled a New York state law that would have required opioid makers and distributors to fund a first-in-the-nation program for covering costs for treatment, prevention, and recovery is unconstitutional. Under the Opioid Stewardship Act, which was enacted last July, opioid makers and wholesalers were expected to pay an estimated $600 million in surcharges over the next six years. The law marked the first time a state government sought to tax these companies as a way to fight the opioid crisis. (Silverman, 12/20)
The CT Mirror: Jepsen Sues Purdue, Saying It Reaped Profits By Boosting Opioid Addiction
Connecticut became the latest state on Thursday to sue Stamford-based Purdue Pharma, saying the company purposefully downplayed the risks of addiction of OxyContin and other opioid painkillers. The suit filed by Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen in Superior Court in Hartford alleges Purdue “peddled a series of falsehoods” to push patients toward its opioids, reaping massive profits from sales while opioid addiction skyrocketed to the crisis level that is currently impacting Connecticut and states across the country. (Radelat, 12/20)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.