Drug firms settle landmark opioid addiction case out of court

Wednesday, 23 Oct, 2019

States and municipalities want money in their coffers as soon as possible to help deal with the epidemic.

The source did not say if Walgreen was part of the settlement. "There are so many different motivations among so many different players, it's virtually impossible to know what would be good".

Some 400,000 United States overdose deaths between 1997 and 2017 were linked to opioids, according to government data.

The epidemic has become more complicated in the past decade, with fatal overdose numbers rising largely because of illicit drugs such as heroin and fentanyl.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster, overseeing the cities and counties cases consolidated in federal court in Cleveland, said he'd seen the OH counties' plan for using the settlement proceeds.

The cases which involved Cuyahoga counties and Ohio's summit were observed attentively as there had been first of thousands of identical ones to go forward.

Purdue Pharma: The maker of the highly addictive OxyContin painkiller - alleged by many to have triggered the opioid crisis - filed for bankruptcy to deal with thousands of lawsuits.

Meanwhile, the three distributors - AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson - have agreed a $215 million payment.

Across the US, the pharmaceutical industry still faces more than 2,600 other lawsuits over the deadly disaster.

Johnson & Johnson was also cited in the suit but settled for $20 million earlier this month, having lost an earlier trial in Oklahoma that resulted in a damages judgment of $572 million. "We need to make this a step ladder to a larger resolution".

The companies said they were prepared to mount a vigorous defence.

Napoli Shkolnik attorneys are also leading efforts in the New York State Coordinated Opioid Litigation where Paul Napoli serves as Co-Lead Counsel by appointment from Supreme Court Justice Jerry Garguilo.

In court filings, the companies have questioned the fairness of the trial, saying it should be longer than seven weeks and that splitting 100 hours among them for questioning witnesses is not adequate.

"When we filed this lawsuit almost two years ago, we did so on behalf of every family who couldn't do it for themselves and on behalf of all the communities who feel this epidemic every day".

Alongside avoiding a bellwether trial brought by two OH counties with a last-minute settlement on Monday, Teva announced that it had reached an agreement with a group of attorneys general from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas, as well as certain defendants, for a global settlement framework worth $23 billion. If a global deal is reached it will pay $250m and donate treatment worth $23bn over a 10-year period, according to the company.

The fact of the matter is that a number of companies that refused to have engaged in any sort of wrongdoing are now being accused of not paying an appropriate amount of attention to the suspicious orders.

The report comes as lawyers, jurors and reporters were gathering for opening arguments on Monday morning in Cleveland's federal courthouse. They could not get a deal completed but talks were to continue. State attorneys general have been pushing for a megadeal with the drugmakers. The judge also denied a motion to delay the trial, brought by the defendants, on the grounds that news of the settlement offer would affect the jury's deliberations.

"The opioid epidemic has ripped through our communities and left a trail of death and destruction in its wake", said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said in a press release Monday. "OH will wait and see what the detailed plan looks like".

"Our hearts go out to the families who have been touched by this", said Ilene Shapiro, the chief executive of Summit County.