Big news in the ever growing legal battle surrounding opioid manufacturers. Smith & Johnson is part of a team of attorneys representing a total of 64 cities and counties in Michigan in the fight to recover taxpayer dollars that have been used to combat the epidemic, and U.S. District Judge Dan Polsteras who oversees roughly 2,000 opioid lawsuits by states, counties and cities, said the plaintiffs can try to prove that drugmakers’ deceptive marketing of the painkillers caused a harmful, massive increase in supply that pharmacies and distributors did not do enough to stop the distribution. Via judge orders big drug companies to face opioid trial in Reuters:
“A factfinder could reasonably infer that these failures were a substantial factor in producing the alleged harm suffered by plaintiffs,” the Cleveland-based judge wrote.
The ruling was among seven decisions and orders totaling 80 pages from Polster ahead of a scheduled Oct. 21 trial by two Ohio counties against Purdue Pharma, the OxyContin maker accused of fueling the epidemic, and several other defendants.
Polster also refused to dismiss civil conspiracy claims against drugmakers, pharmacies and distributors, and said federal law did not preempt much of the plaintiffs’ case.
Other defendants included the drugmakers Endo International Plc and Johnson & Johnson; pharmacy operators CVS Health Corp., Rite Aid Corp., Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and Walmart Inc.; and distributors AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp.
Polster also refused to dismiss a variety of claims against generic drugmakers Allergan Plc, Mallinckrodt Plc and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.