California judge delivers drugmakers 1st trial win in opioid litigation

California judge delivers drugmakers 1st trial win in opioid litigation

Nov 1 (Reuters) – A California judge on Monday stated he would rule towards a number of massive counties that accused 4 drugmakers of fueling the U.S. opioid epidemic, saying they failed throughout a trial to show their $50 billion case.

Orange County Superior Courtroom Judge Peter Wilson issued a tentative ruling discovering Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA.TA), Endo Worldwide PLC (ENDP.O) and AbbVie Inc’s (ABBV.N) Allergan unit not liable.

It marked the primary trial win for any drug firms in the greater than 3,300 lawsuits filed by states and native governments over a drug abuse disaster that the U.S. authorities says led to almost 500,000 opioid overdose deaths over 20 years. learn extra

The ruling got here as J&J and the three largest U.S. drug distributors – McKesson Corp, Cardinal Well being Inc and AmersourceBergen — work to finalize a proposed deal to pay as much as $26 billion to settle the hundreds of circumstances towards them. learn extra

A chapter judge in August permitted a settlement by OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and its rich Sackler household homeowners of the claims towards them that the corporate values at greater than $10 billion.

Throughout a months-long, non-jury trial, the populous Santa Clara, Los Angeles and Orange counties and town of Oakland argued the drugmakers’ advertising downplayed opioids’ addictive dangers and promoted them for broader makes use of than meant.

They argued the promoting led to billions of ache drugs flooding their communities and an increase in overdose deaths. They stated the businesses ought to pay greater than $50 billion to cowl the prices of abating the general public nuisance they created, plus penalties.

However Wilson stated even when the drugmakers’ advertising contained any deceptive statements, the counties put ahead no proof to point out that their promotional actions prompted any medically inappropriate prescriptions to be written.

He agreed with the businesses that the epidemic couldn’t be thought of a authorized public nuisance as a result of the federal authorities and the state had on the time decided the advantages of medically acceptable prescriptions outweighed their harms.

“There is simply no evidence to show that the rise in prescriptions was not the result of the medically appropriate provision of pain medications to patients in need,” Wilson wrote.

J&J in a press release stated the choice confirmed its advertising was “appropriate and responsible.” John Hueston, Endo’s lawyer, stated it demonstrated his shopper’s “lawful conduct did not cause the widespread public nuisance at issue in plaintiffs’ complaint.”

Teva in a press release stated it continues to pursue a nationwide settlement framework and that the ruling was a “clear win” for sufferers who would profit from complete settlements being finalized.

Representatives for the California plaintiffs didn’t reply to requests for remark. They might probably problem the tentative ruling earlier than it turns into remaining. Tentative selections are typical in California state courts.

In a press release, the lead legal professionals overseeing associated federal lawsuits towards the businesses — Jayne Conroy, Paul Farrell and Joe Rice — stated they strongly disagreed with the ruling and confused that it didn’t influence associated circumstances nationally.

The one different opioid trial to succeed in a verdict resulted in an Oklahoma judge in 2019 ordering J&J to pay $465 million to the state. J&J is interesting that call.

Trials are presently underway a New York case towards Teva and AbbVie and in Ohio towards three pharmacy chain operators. A West Virginia federal judge not too long ago completed listening to proof in a trial involving the distributors. learn extra

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston
Modifying by Shri Navaratnam, Sandra Maler and Michael Perry

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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