Pharmaceutical companies who have produced and marketed opioids such as Oxycontin have been 'drug' a little closer to a potentially expensive day of reckoning. A federal magistrate who reviewed a test-case of the class action suit though which thousands of municipalities are seeking billions of dollars in damages has deemed that the injuries claimed by the plaintiffs cannot be ignored without a further hearing.
Among the many companies named in the suit are Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Purdue Pharma Inc., McKesson (MCK), and AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC), some of whom make drugs and some of whom distribute them. The suit alleges that the companies understated the risks of the drugs, overstated the benefits, and ignored suspiciously high volumes of the drugs being ordered.
President Trump and other officials have taken action to stamp out the opioid epidemic which has escalated to ghastly proportions, claiming around 100 American lives every day.
Parallels exist between the current lawsuit and the Big Tobacco case of the 1990s, in which governments were able to extract a $246 Billion settlement from tobacco companies. The tobacco-related claims partially involved the marketing techniques companies used and partially involved the knowledge that companies had about the detrimental affects of their products. The current lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies differs in that the products are only available with prescriptions.
The case is being heard in the US District court of Northern Ohio. Settlements outside of court are becoming increasingly likely, which may allow the companies to avoid any admission of wrongdoing.