Opioid Lawsuits

Two drug companies have reached agreements in principle with Cuyahoga and Summit counties to settle the local governments’ federal lawsuits over the opioid crisis.

The federal judge overseeing thousands of opioid lawsuits appears poised to approve a pathway for resolving local government claims against the drug industry and dividing settlement dollars nationwide.  

“There has to be some vehicle to resolve these lawsuits,” U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster said during a Tuesday morning hearing in federal court in Cleveland.

Drug companies have not yet settled claims brought against them in federal court, but confidential settlement talks have continued since the start of the multi-district case.

Cardinal Health Counsel Says Company Has No Obligation To Public

Jul 24, 2019
Kiichiro Sato / Associated Press

An executive at Dublin-based Cardinal Health, one of the nation's largest drug distribution companies, said under questioning recently that the business has no obligation to the public when it comes to the amount of prescription opioid painkillers it ships.

Updated 7:19 p.m., July 15, 2019

The federal judge presiding over nationwide opioid litigation has partially lifted an order that shielded years of drug sales data from public view.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster on Monday ordered the release of data on opioid sales from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System dated on or before Dec. 31, 2012.

Plan Paused To Divide Potential Settlement From Opioid Lawsuits

Jun 25, 2019
OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont.
Toby Talbot / AP

State and local governments suing over the toll of a nationwide opioid crisis agree that companies in the drug industry should be held accountable, but they have differences on who should have the power to strike any settlement, and how it should work.

The local governments suing drug companies over the opioid crisis have not reached a settlement in the more than 1,800 lawsuits pending in federal court in Cleveland.

But attorneys for the plaintiffs are proposing a way to divide up any settlement dollars among — possibly — all cities and counties across the country. The attorneys are asking Judge Dan Polster to approve the plan at a June 25 hearing. All Things Considered host Tony Ganzer spoke with ideastream’s Nick Castele about the cases, the proposal and if a settlement is likely.

Updated at 11:25 a.m. ET

Federal prosecutors are charging 60 doctors, pharmacists, medical professionals and others in connection with alleged opioid pushing and health care fraud, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

The charges came less than four months after the Justice Department dispatched experienced fraud prosecutors across hard-hit regions in Appalachia.

OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont.
Toby Talbot / AP

As the nation's opioid crisis has devastated thousands of families, it also has taken a crippling financial toll on cities, small towns and counties in Ohio and around the country.

America's big drugmakers and pharmacy chains are scrambling to respond to hundreds of lawsuits tied to the deadly opioid epidemic. Billions of dollars are at stake if the companies are found liable for fueling the crisis.

Even before judgments are rendered, companies like Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and CVS are already suffering damage to their reputations as evidence in civil suits reveals more about their internal workings.

Opioid-Makers Face Wave of Lawsuits in 2019

Dec 31, 2018

The next 12 months might just redefine the way America thinks about and responds to the opioid epidemic that now claims more than 40,000 lives each year. The nation's biggest drugmakers and distributors face a wave of civil lawsuits that could total tens of billions of dollars in damages.

A confidential government database of drug sales has become crucial to the nationwide opioid lawsuit in federal court in Cleveland.

The Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System, known as ARCOS, recorded painkiller sales between manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies at a time when overdose deaths surged nationwide.

A federal judge has ruled that state and local governments cannot publicize federal government data about where prescription opioids were distributed — a blow to news organizations seeking to report more deeply on the nation's overdose and addiction crisis.

Kentucky's Attorney General announced on Thursday that the state is suing the pharmacy chain Walgreens for allegedly exacerbating the "man-made" opioid crisis, by playing a dual role in in the supply chain as both the distributor and dispenser.

The lawsuit also asserts the company willfully ignored its own safeguard systems that are designed to protect consumers and monitor their drug consumption.

Steve Dettelbach, Democratic Attorney General nominee
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

Ohio's Democratic attorney general candidate is facing a potential conflict of interest that could affect his ability to prosecute the pharmaceutical industry in the state's lawsuit over the opioid crisis if he is elected.

Attorneys handling hundreds of lawsuits over the opioid crisis say they’re making progress in discussions between local governments and drug companies.

U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster held a brief public hearing today to discuss the suits brought by cities, counties, Native American tribes and others against drug makers and distributors.

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