Federal judge sets first trial date for 3 opioid epidemic lawsuits: 3 things to know

The federal judge from the Northern District of Ohio overseeing more than 400 opioid epidemic lawsuits set a March 2019 trial date for three of the cases, according to a report from Reuters.

Here are three things to know.

1. Since January, Judge Dan Polster has been calling for a consolidated settlement to these lawsuits, which have been filed by cities, states, counties and Native American tribes against drugmakers and distributors. The lawsuits allege the companies engaged in deceptive marketing tactics to promote the widespread use of opioids, thereby facilitating high rates of opioid addiction and overdose.

2. On April 11, Mr. Polster acknowledged barriers to settlement and said drug companies had "asserted forcefully that they cannot reach final settlement without litigating certain matters." The judge selected three lawsuits filed by three municipalities and counties in Ohio to be the first to face a jury, setting a trial date for March 18, 2019.

3. Polster said additional trial dates would be set for lawsuits filed by local governments in Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and West Virginia.

To read the full report from Reuters, click here.

More articles on opioids: 
AMA opposes opioid prescription limits: 5 things to know 
Study: Medicare patients use fewer opioids in states with medical marijuana laws 
Overdose deaths surged since 2010, despite prescription opioid decline: 3 findings

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