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Opioid Lawsuits

When Ashwani Sheoran showed up for early morning shifts at pharmacies in rural Michigan wearing his white Walmart smock, he often found customers waiting, desperate for bottles of pain pills.

"I see my patients, 15 to 20, already lined up to get prescriptions filled for morphine sulfate, oxycodone and other straight narcotics," he said.

This was in 2012 when the prescription opioid epidemic was exploding, killing tens of thousands of Americans every year.

One of the world's most influential corporate consulting firms, McKinsey & Company, says it regrets efforts to boost sales of OxyContin and other highly addictive opioids.

The rare apology follows revelations in documents made public last month for the first time that showed McKinsey working closely with Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family who sat on Purdue's board.

A federal bankruptcy judge approved a controversial $8.3 billion settlement late Tuesday between Purdue Pharma and the Department of Justice.

The deal first unveiled last month stems from the company's decades-long manufacture and marketing of Oxycontin and other highly addictive opioid medications.

Under terms approved by Judge Robert Drain, Purdue Pharma will plead guilty to three felony counts of criminal wrongdoing.

When then-presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke in Manchester, N.H., a week before the 2016 election, he said the opioid crisis was destroying lives and shattering families.

"We are going to stop the inflow of drugs into New Hampshire and into our country 100%," Trump promised.

It was a major campaign issue. Overdoses were surging in battleground states key to the election, like New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

As drug firms race to position themselves as key players in the coronavirus fight, the industry faces a renewed wave of civil lawsuits stemming from its role in the nation's deadly opioid epidemic.

Thousands of cases that ground to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic are moving forward again as local, state and federal courts reopen around the United States.

reuters.com

A federal judge overseeing opioid litigation in Cleveland has ruled against a request by five pharmacy chains to dismiss lawsuits filed by Lake and Trumbull Counties. 

reuters.com

A federal district judge in Cleveland has dismissed an effort by pharmacy chains to shift their liability for the opioid crisis to unnamed Ohio physicians and practitioners who wrote the prescriptions.

Ohio's governor and attorney general say dozens of cities and 73 of the state's 88 counties have signed on to a plan for potential settlements of lawsuits filed against drug companies over the opioid crisis. 

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

Former billionaire and pharmaceutical executive John Kapoor has been sentenced to five years and six months in prison. His sentencing is the culmination of a months-long criminal trial in Boston's Moakley U.S. Courthouse that resulted in the first successful prosecution of pharmaceutical executives tied to the opioid epidemic.

Updated at 1:22 p.m. ET

The family that owns Purdue Pharma pulled billions of dollars from the company after introducing its signature opioid medication, OxyContin, growing personally wealthy as the heavily marketed drug took on a significant role in a nationwide addiction crisis.

Columbus City Council last night approved legislation creating a financial penalty on secondary market sellers who fail to pay the city’s ticket tax for sporting events and shows. 

Updated on Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. ET

A global megacorporation best known for Band-Aids and baby powder is now on the hook for about $107 million less than originally anticipated over its role in Oklahoma's opioid crisis.

In a judgment filed Friday, state District Judge Thad Balkman revised an earlier ruling against Johnson & Johnson and told the drugmaker to make a onetime payment of $465 million — not the $572 million he had originally ordered.

There's a reckoning underway in the courts about the damage wrought by the opioid crisis and who should pay for it.

insurancejournal.com

The nation's three largest drug distributors and a drugmaker have reached a tentative deal to settle a lawsuit related to the nation's opioid crisis. 

Karen Kasler

Ohio’s attorney general says his office is disappointed in a reported settlement with five drugmakers and distributors in advance of a huge opioid trial - a trial he tried to delay.

Three major U.S. drug distributing companies are negotiating a multibillion-dollar settlement to end numerous lawsuits filed by state and local governments seeking compensation for costs associated with the opioid crisis.

The drug distributors — Amerisource Bergen, McKesson and Cardinal Health — could pay as much as $18 billion over 18 years, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the discussions.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 24

Make no mistake: The legal fight over liability for the U.S. opioid crisis is only heating up.

Ohio Public Radio

The 6th  U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati Thursday  denied an effort led by Ohio Attorney General David Yost to stop a bellwether trial over the opioid crisis from starting this month in Cleveland.

Updated at 9:35 p.m. ET

New York state Attorney General Letitia James says the family that owns Purdue Pharma, maker of the opioid OxyContin, used Swiss bank accounts to transfer $1 billion from the company to itself.

The allegation, which came in court documents filed late Friday, indicates that the Sackler family is trying to keep its wealth free from potential liability in other court cases involving Purdue Pharma's role in the opioid crisis.

Purdue Pharma, the maker of the opioid drug OxyContin, has reached a tentative deal worth billions of dollars that would resolve thousands of lawsuits brought by municipal and state governments who sued the company for allegedly helping to fuel the opioid crisis.

The pending settlement likely means Purdue will avoid going to trial in the sprawling and complicated case involving some 2,300 local governments across 23 states.

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

The family that owns Purdue Pharma, maker of Oxycontin, has agreed to give up "the entire value" of the privately owned firm to settle claims that Purdue played a central role in the nation's deadly opioid epidemic.

That's according to a spokesperson for the firm, who detailed the Sackler family's offer in an email sent to NPR on Monday.

"Additionally, the Sacklers have offered $3 billion in cash as part of the global resolution," wrote Josephine Martin, Purdue Pharma's head of corporate affairs and communications.

Ohio Public Radio

Republican Ohio Attorney General David Yost is suing to stop upcoming trials seen as test cases for forcing drugmakers to pay for societal damage inflicted by the opioid epidemic.

 

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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine says allowing the state to take over dozens of pending lawsuits filed by cities and counties against opioid manufacturers and distributers is a "serious mistake."  

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The family behind the maker of one of the main drugs blamed for the nation’s opioid crisis has reportedly offered 12 billion dollars to settle a federal case in Cleveland. 

Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET

Confronted with a torrent of lawsuits across the U.S., several major drug companies are in discussions with authorities to resolve thousands of opioid-related suits filed against them. A government source close to the negotiations tells NPR that Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Endo International and Allergan are looking to cut deals.

Updated at 7:04 p.m. ET

An Oklahoma judge has ruled that drugmaker Johnson & Johnson helped ignite the state's opioid crisis by deceptively marketing painkillers, and must pay $572 million to the state.

Oklahoma sought $17.5 billion, blaming Johnson & Johnson for fueling the crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people in the state.

Nearly 2,000 cities, towns and counties across America are currently participating in a massive multidistrict civil lawsuit against the opioid industry for damages related to the abuse of prescription pain medication. The defendants in the suit include drug manufacturers like Mallinckrodt, wholesale distributors McKesson and Cardinal Health, and pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens.

toledoblade.com

Former Ohio State University President Gordon Gee and former Ohio Governor John Kasich are forming a nonprofit organization that will work to steer money from any national opioid settlement to hospitals and health-based research. 

investor.endo.com

Endo Pharmaceuticals says it has reached a settlement in its claims with the first two Ohio counties set to go to trial in the national opioid lawsuit. 

Dublin-based Cardinal Health is among three opioid distributors offering to pay 10 billion dollars to settle lawsuits filed by state and local governments over their alleged role in the nation's opioid crisis. 

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