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
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.