Federal judge calls for quick resolution to 200+ opioids lawsuits

A federal judge is overseeing the consolidation of more than 200 opioid lawsuits filed by counties, states and hospitals, among other entities, against drugmakers and distributors. The judge on Tuesday called for attorneys representing both sides to achieve a swift resolution that beneficially targets the opioid crisis, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

The lawsuits collectively allege drugmakers and drug distributors engaged in deceptive marketing tactics to promote the widespread use of opioids, thereby facilitating the nation's opioid addiction and overdose crisis. The suits seek to recoup funds expended by these entities responding to the crisis.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster on Tuesday urged attorneys for both plaintiffs and defendants to reach an agreement that doesn't simply focus on monetary payment, but also takes steps to address the ongoing crisis. A quick resolution would avoid a lengthy legal battle, which would delay any positive influence the lawsuits' resolution could have on the crisis.

"I don't think anyone in the country is interested in a whole lot of finger pointing at this point, and I'm not either," Mr. Polster said Tuesday at a Cleveland courthouse, according to WSJ. "In my humble opinion, everyone shares some of the responsibility, and no one has done enough to abate it … We don't need briefs, and we don't need trials … None of those are going to solve what we've got."

Similar lawsuits filed in recent years demonstrate how difficult resolution can be to achieve in such cases. In 2014, California's Orange and Santa Clara counties filed opioid lawsuits against multiple drugmakers, including Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson and Endo International. While Teva agreed to pay $1.6 million last year as a part of a pending agreement, the other defendants continue to push for the suit's dismal, according to WSJ.

More articles on opioids: 
Opioid prescriptions down 12% in Pennsylvania: 4 things to know 
Pennsylvania governor to issue disaster declaration for opioid epidemic
Harvard to livestream opioid epidemic conversation with Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams

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