US: 1st federal opioid crisis trial to focus on distribution - - PressFrom - US
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US 1st federal opioid crisis trial to focus on distribution

08:05  21 october  2019
08:05  21 october  2019 Source:   msn.com

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When President Trump took office, the opioid crisis was devastating communities across America. In October 2017, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. Ever since, the Trump Administration has applied an all-of-Government approach to the epidemic, taking an

Yahoo Finance. 1 st federal opioid crisis trial to focus on distribution .

CLEVELAND (AP) — The case is about the conduct of a group of companies in two Ohio counties, but far more than that is riding on the first federal trial on the opioid crisis, expected to open Monday in Cleveland.

FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2019, file photo, narcotics detective Ben Hill, with the Barberton Police Department, shows two bags of medications that are are stored in their headquarters and slated for destruction in Barberton, Ohio. A committee guiding OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy has suggested other drugmakers, distributors and pharmacy chains use Purdue's bankruptcy proceedings to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits seeking to hold the drug industry accountable for the national opioid crisis. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)© Provided by The Associated Press FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2019, file photo, narcotics detective Ben Hill, with the Barberton Police Department, shows two bags of medications that are are stored in their headquarters and slated for destruction in Barberton, Ohio. A committee guiding OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy has suggested other drugmakers, distributors and pharmacy chains use Purdue's bankruptcy proceedings to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits seeking to hold the drug industry accountable for the national opioid crisis. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

The counties are looking for money to help them fight and fix the epidemic, while families who lost loved ones to overdoses are seeking justice. The companies, meanwhile, say they followed the law and are aren't to blame for the crisis.

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CLEVELAND (AP) — Efforts to settle thousands of lawsuits related to the nation’s opioid epidemic intensified Wednesday ahead of the scheduled start of arguments in the first federal trial over the crisis . A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that three major drug

"This is not your typical tort product liability case. It's really about an epidemic," said Carl Tobias, a professor in the law school at the University of Richmond. "There are so many different motivations among so many different players, it's virtually impossible to know what would be good."

State, local and tribal governments plus hospitals and others have filed a total of more than 2,600 lawsuits against drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies seeking to hold them accountable for the nation's opioid crisis, which has been linked to more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. since 2000. That includes fatal overdoses from both prescription opioids and illegal ones such as heroin and illicitly made fentanyl.

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Efforts to settle thousands of lawsuits related to the nation’s opioid epidemic intensified Wednesday ahead of the scheduled start of arguments in the first federal trial over the crisis . A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that three major drug distributors plus two

The opioid epidemic in the U.S. is fundamentally tied to two primary issues. The first issue was the significant rise in opioid analgesic prescriptions that began in By providing 5 million to states and U.S. territories in fiscal year (FY) 2017, this program allows states to focus on areas of greatest need

The Cleveland case focuses on just two of those claims, from Ohio's Cuyahoga and Summit counties. But the case is a legal bellwether intended to signal how rulings might go in other cases in federal court, so it's being closely watched by the drug industry and advocates.

Just six companies remain in the case after a series of settlements, including one with Johnson & Johnson and a tentative deal with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, which has since filed for bankruptcy protection. They are drugmaker Teva, which owns Cephalon and Actavis; the major distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson; the smaller distributor Henry Schein; and pharmacy chain Walgreens in its capacity as a distributor.

The heart of most opioid lawsuits is a claim that drug companies improperly marketed the powerful painkillers to doctors and other prescribers, overselling the benefits and understating the risks of a class of drugs long linked to addiction. In the only opioid crisis case to go to trial so far in state court, an Oklahoma judge ruled against Johnson & Johnson and ordered the company to pay $572 million in damages.

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16, 2019, in the first federal trial over the nation's opioid epidemic. The trial focuses on lawsuits filed by two Ohio counties claiming drug companies that Multiple defendants had asked for the start of the trial to be pushed back after media reports of an billion settlement offer from three major drug

16, 2019, in the first federal trial over the nation's opioid epidemic. It would include billion in cash over time plus up to billion worth of overdose antidotes and treatment drugs, with distribution of those drugs valued at another billion — a calculation of how much a distributor could charge

With just one drugmaker left in the federal trial, the Cleveland case is expected to focus on how the drugs were distributed: Were the companies obligated to halt shipments of suspicious orders and, if so, did they comply?

FILE - This Oct. 16, 2019, file photo shows a sign of the Cardinal Health, Inc. corporate office in Dublin, Ohio. A committee guiding OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy has suggested other drugmakers, distributors and pharmacy chains use Purdue's bankruptcy proceedings to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits seeking to hold the drug industry accountable for the national opioid crisis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)© Provided by The Associated Press FILE - This Oct. 16, 2019, file photo shows a sign of the Cardinal Health, Inc. corporate office in Dublin, Ohio. A committee guiding OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy has suggested other drugmakers, distributors and pharmacy chains use Purdue's bankruptcy proceedings to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits seeking to hold the drug industry accountable for the national opioid crisis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

In legal filings, the companies have asserted that they should not be found liable. The drugs were prescribed by doctors with orders filled by pharmacies. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration kept raising the quota for how many should be made even as overdoses rose.

Distributors argue that their function was mostly as a delivery service.

"The distributors' role is to help ensure that medicines prescribed by licensed doctors are delivered to licensed pharmacies, so they are available for patients who need them, when they need them, where they need them," the three large distributors said in a joint statement issued after settlement negotiations hit an impasse on Friday. "We have to balance our mission to deliver medicines to pharmacies and hospitals when and where they need them against our important efforts to prevent and detect illegal diversion of those drugs."

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16, 2019, in the first federal trial over the nation's opioid epidemic.Photo: Keith Srakocic, AP. In court Wednesday, lawyers for the defendants argued that the trial should be postponed in case potential jurors saw any of the coverage and would be tainted when learning of the massive amount of

CLEVELAND — Two decades after the onset of an opioid epidemic that led to the deaths of 400,000 Americans, the first landmark federal opioid trial is set to begin Monday, after furious, last-minute settlement talks between two powerful groups of plaintiffs and five drug industry defendants faltered.

The companies said they were prepared to mount a vigorous defense.

Federal distribution data released as part of the Cleveland litigation showed they moved a massive quantity of drugs. An Associated Press analysis of federal drug distribution data found that in 2012, enough prescription opioids were shipped for every man, woman and child in the U.S. to have a 20-day supply.

In court filings, the companies have questioned the fairness of the trial, saying it should be longer than seven weeks and that splitting 100 hours among them for questioning witnesses is not adequate.

Witnesses expected to be called during the opening days of testimony include two experts on addiction, an official with the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Service Board, a fire chief and Travis Bornstein, whose son Tyler fatally overdosed in 2014 at age 18.

U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster, who is handling the Cleveland trial and overseeing all the opioid suits in federal courts, has long been pushing for settlements as a way to distribute money and make a difference in the fight against a complicated epidemic.

Last week, Teva, the three major distributors and Johnson & Johnson, were working on a deal that North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said would have been worth about $48 billion in cash and free treatment drugs over time. The deal was intended to resolve all the suits against the companies, not just the claims to be heard in Cleveland.

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In addition, the SUPPORT Act extends the 90% enhanced federal match for Medicaid health home services focused on care coordination for beneficiaries Directs HHS Secretary to issue guidance on mandatory and optional Medicaid services for non- opioid pain treatment and management by 1/1/19.

A jury was seated for the first federal trial on the opioid crisis , but drug companies are pushing for a settlement before opening arguments. The companies say they followed the law. The drug distribution companies AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson — and manufacturers

Attorneys general, lead lawyers for local governments and CEOs of the companies met for a daylong negotiating session in Cleveland on Friday. They could not get a deal completed but talks were to continue. The differences were not only between the companies and the government entities, but also between the attorneys general and local government attorneys about how the money would be distributed.

On Sunday, a committee helping guide Purdue's bankruptcy sent a letter to defendants in cases across the country suggesting they might be able to contribute to a fund and have the bankruptcy judge handling Purdue's case end suits against them, too.

David Humes, a Delaware man whose son Greg died of a heroin overdose in 2012, has dedicated himself to fighting the opioid epidemic. He does not want to wait for hundreds of lawsuits to work their way through courts to see major nationwide action.

"The longer these several hundred municipal suits take is a delay in getting help for the people who most need it," he said.

But he also was critical of the settlement proposals on the table: "The offers we've seen so far are nothing close to the right settlement," he said.

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Mulvihill reported from Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

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Follow Mulvihill at http://www.twitter.com/geoffmulvihill and Smyth at http://www.twitter.com/jcarrsmyth

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