ADEA Washington Update

Little-Known Opioid Case Targets Big Drug Distributors

(ACA, Medicare and Medicaid Services, Federal Court, Opioid Abuse, Prescription Drug Abuse) Permanent link   All Posts

2018 has a number of major health care cases to watch, including multibillion-dollar battles over Affordable Care Act (ACA) spending and Medicare reimbursement.

One case is attacking the opioid epidemic by targeting the nation’s largest drug distributors over allegedly negligent sales of opioids. This case has been structured as multidistrict litigation (MDL). Although it is currently being litigated in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, it includes allegations by several cities, counties and states (plaintiffs) where communities have been hurt by widespread addiction to opioids. The plaintiffs allege that the manufacturers of prescription opioids completely misrepresented the risks of long-term use of those drugs for people with chronic pain, and that the distributors failed to properly monitor suspicious orders of those prescription drugs.

Overseeing this MDL is U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster. He stated that his priority will be to find a way to dramatically reduce the number of opioids in circulation and make sure that the painkillers end up in the right hands.

The case is In RE: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, which could demonstrate how far courts are willing to go to hold not only prescribing physicians liable for the epidemic, but also opioid manufacturers and distributors. 

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