In It For the Money –
December 26, 2019 – “The opioid crisis has just presented such an emergency and it’s called for quick action,” Zimmerman said. “To the extent that it hasn’t worked, I don’t think that’s necessarily the fault of Judge Polster as much as just the extremely complicated nature of this litigation.” Thousands of states, local governments, school districts and Native American tribes have sued drug companies for aggressively marketing prescription opioid medications while allegedly downplaying the risks of addiction and overdose. More than 400,000 Americans have died during the epidemic that began in the 1990s.
The legal muddle that remains is scary for those cash-strapped towns and cities. It also leaves a big cloud over the pharmaceutical industry. In August, a state judge in Oklahoma found Johnson & Johnson liable for hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties for “misleading” marketing of prescription opioids. Johnson & Johnson is appealing that decision, but it was a shot across the bow for drug companies, a sign that courts across the U.S. might rule in favor of communities
A month later, in September, the avalanche of lawsuits pushed Purdue Pharma, another big opioid-maker over the edge. The company filed for structured bankruptcy, with the company’s owners, the Sackler family, offering to pay roughly $3 billion of their personal cash to help communities and giving up control of the firm to settle all opioid-related claims.