The Opioid Litigation: Settlements, Winners, and Losers

The Opioid Litigation: Settlements, Winners, and Losers

The Opioid Litigation: Settlements, Winners, and Losers

As the fall approaches, anticipation is growing for a breakthrough in the National Prescription Opiate Litigation, the 1,800 combined cases before Judge Dan Polster. The cases accuse Purdue Pharma and other drug manufacturers, along with drug distributors like McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health and national pharmacies of responsibility for opioid-related harm.

With the first trial in this behemoth case just months away (October 2019), the expectation has been that the opioid litigation will follow the patterns of previous high-profile cases like Big Tobacco or the NFL Concussion cases, reaching a comprehensive settlement before trial. Though Judge Polster has kept the underlying facts out of public view by allowing the defendants to file materials under seal, the parties have made noteworthy efforts to publicize an anticipated settlement framework.

The proposal would pull nearly 25,000 cities and counties nationwide (of whom roughly fewer than 7% are currently parties to the litigation) into a negotiation class, betting that few would opt out based on litigation costs. The theory is that this would give the defendants some security by foreclosing the possibility of future suits by municipalities not yet participating in the proceedings. The differential share of opioid harms at different times and places around the country could be allocated with an interactive map establishing each local government’s expected share of any proposed settlement.


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This post originally appeared here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbooksauthors/2019/07/26/the-opioid-litigation-settlements-winners-and-losers/

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