California counties search billions from drugmakers in opioid trial

4 drugmakers are dealing with trial in California over claims that they downplayed the dangers of opioid habit and engaged in deceptive advertising that fuelled the opioid disaster.

Johnson & Johnson, Teva, Endo and AbbVie’s Allergan are accused of falsely advertising painkillers and knowingly underplaying the chance of habit so as to improve gross sales, in litigation introduced by three California counties and town of Oakland, that are in search of billions of {dollars} in damages.

“The unlucky legacy of that advertising, of that promotion, of these falsehoods, of these gross sales, is there’s an opioid epidemic that continues to rage in California,” Fidelma Fitzpatrick stated in her opening remarks Monday on behalf of the plaintiffs — Santa Clara, Orange and Los Angeles counties, and Oakland.

She stated the businesses engaged in “aggressive advertising and promotion of opioids, all of the whereas figuring out the tragic well being penalties that may come”.

In setting out the case to Choose Peter Wilson, Fitzpatrick stated the drugmakers engaged in advertising practices that have been “deceptive at greatest and false at worse”, highlighting that every one 4 corporations claimed “no dose is just too excessive” and that habit was uncommon. 

“The harms attributable to the legacy of this advertising and promotion are terribly actual at present,” she stated, claiming that the businesses misled medical doctors into believing that prescribing opioids was the suitable plan of action. “This isn’t an issue of unhealthy medical doctors, it is a drawback of tablets.”

The opioid epidemic has swept throughout the US and claimed 1000’s of lives. Almost 500,000 folks died from opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2019, in line with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Opioid overdoses account for almost all of US deaths from medication.

The California trial is the newest case in opposition to drugmakers for his or her position within the lethal opioid epidemic, which has spurred 1000’s of lawsuits throughout the nation. In 2019, J&J was ordered to pay $572m in damages by a choose in Oklahoma who discovered the corporate had brought about a “public nuisance” within the state. The plaintiffs on this trial are in search of to show the identical.

In opening remarks for Teva, lawyer Collie James argued that his consumer didn’t act improperly. “The proof won’t assist this grand conspiracy concept . . . My consumer’s merchandise are and stay authorized, crucial and efficient ache administration.”

Teva additionally settled an opioid case with Oklahoma earlier in 2019, paying the state $85m over claims it fuelled the disaster.

The trial is being held remotely by way of Zoom, and legal professionals for all 4 corporations are set to ship their arguments in a while Monday.

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