Month: January 2019

Opioids: Boston trial opens what could be the year of reckoning for executives

Drug company executives appearing in court in Boston this week have been accused of running “a criminal enterprise” and putting greed before patient safety as they pushed prescription narcotics during the opioids crisis, blighting the health of America.

The defendants are the first painkiller manufacturing bosses to stand trial over conduct authorities say contributed to an overdose epidemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the past 20 years, regardless of region, age, race and income.

If the Boston trial and others scheduled to get under way later this year are anything to go by, 2019 is now shaping up as the start of a reckoning for the pharmaceutical giants still making billions from opioids.

Assistant US attorney David Lazarus told jurors in the federal court in Boston that John Kapoor and the company he created, Insys Therapeutics, ran a nationwide kickback and conspiracy scheme that effectively bribed doctors to routinely prescribe patients an addictive fentanyl spray that was much powerful than morphine and had been approved to alleviate the pain of advanced cancer.

Opioid Lawsuits Are Headed to Trial. Here’s Why the Stakes Are Getting Uglier.

Just over a year ago, opioid lawsuits against makers and distributors of the painkillers were proliferating so rapidly that a judicial panel bundled all the federal cases under the stewardship of a single judge. On a January morning, Judge Dan Aaron Polster of the Northern District of Ohio made his opening remarks to lawyers for nearly 200 municipal governments gathered in his Cleveland courtroom. He wanted the national opioid crisis resolved with a meaningful settlement within a year, proclaiming, “We don’t need briefs and we don’t need trials.”

That year is up.

Judge to rule on media request to disclose allegations against Purdue Pharma

A Massachusetts judge said Friday she would rule by early next week on a request from media organizations, including STAT and the Boston Globe, to make public redacted portions of a lawsuit brought by the Massachusetts attorney general’s office against Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin and other opioid painkillers.

The Connecticut company’s aggressive and misleading marketing of OxyContin has been blamed by addiction experts for helping spawn the opioid addiction crisis. Outside the Boston courthouse Friday, families of people who became addicted to opioids after taking Purdue’s medications rallied, with some calling for criminal charges against the company.

“Every day that goes by where this document is substantially under seal is a day that the public does not have access to newsworthy and important information

3M Conducts Faulty Testing to Obtain Exclusive Military Contract on Earplugs

According to a recently settled whistleblower lawsuit, 3M Company and its predecessor Aearo Technologies, Inc. —which supplied the U.S. military with Combat Arms Earplugs version 2 (CAEv2) between 2003 and 2015—made false statements about the effectiveness of those earplugs, unnecessarily putting millions of veterans in danger of developing hearing loss and tinnitus.

Moldex-Metric, a competitor company that also manufacturers earplugs, filed the lawsuit under the False Claims Act. The U.S. Department of Justice later joined in the suit, and the plaintiffs secured a $9.1 million settlement agreement.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ alleged that 3M and Aearo (3M acquired Aearo in 2008) were aware of problems with the CAEv2 for years, yet continued to supply them to the military without disclosing the CAEv2’s defects.

Manufacturer

Army settlement with earplug maker may lead to more suits by veterans

Retired Army General Jay Gothard said a legal settlement, between the maker of an earplug used by the military and the United States Department of Justice, made him feel violated.

In the lawsuit, the U.S. government claimed that Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs, made by Aearo Technologies but later acquired by 3M and sold to the Army, were “dangerously defective” and contributed to significant hearing loss in service members.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than half (52 percent) of combat soldiers return home with moderate or severe hearing loss. It costs taxpayers an estimated $1 billion to treat the problem.

Gothard showed WRAL News two identical sets of earplugs he was issued to dull the din of explosives and guns.

“We spend

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