over 700 opioid lawsuits were filed by numerous government entities, hospitals,
Native American tribes and individuals, one district court was chosen to marshal
together all the cases. Hon.
Dan A. Polster, U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of
Ohio, was chosen by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL), which
No. 2804, also known as the Opioid MDL. Last month, Judge Polster issued
an order requiring plaintiffs to turn over hundreds of prescription records or
abandon the right to present any evidence of specific prescriptions they claim
were “unauthorized, medically unnecessary, ineffective or harmful.”
the plaintiffs choose not to turn over records, they will be restricted to
using experts and sales records to show the defendant companies distributed
more pills than were medically necessary and that the excess can be attributed
to their marketing practices and lack of care in controlling illegal diversion.
Opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacists have asked for access to exactly
which prescriptions were medically unnecessary or out-and-out illegal.
plaintiffs are arguing the focus should be on misrepresentations and other
improper behavior by manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies, and the
defendants say the plaintiffs should be required to provide evidence of people
who should not have received prescriptions.
Drug Enforcement Administration keeps records on every single opioid pill from
factory to retail pharmacy, but this volume of data has the potential to
overwhelm the court. Given the high-profile nature of the lawsuit, the large
number of plaintiffs and massive financial stakes, there is ongoing pressure on
both sides to settle.