Oct 4 (Reuters) – The first trial of 4 giant pharmacy chains over the lethal U.S. opioid epidemic was set to start on Monday, as two Ohio counties search to persuade jurors the businesses are accountable for flooding their communities with addictive ache capsules.
The Ohio counties of Lake and Trumbull allege that oversight failures at pharmacies run by Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA.O), CVS Well being Corp (CVS.N), Walmart Inc (WMT.N) and Large Eagle Inc (GIAEG.UL) led to extreme quantities of opioid capsules flooding their communities.
Legal professionals for the counties and corporations will ship opening statements to a federal jury in Cleveland, the place 1000’s of comparable lawsuits in opposition to pharmaceutical corporations, drug distributors and pharmacies are pending.
Greater than 3,300 circumstances have been introduced largely by state and native governments looking for to carry the businesses accountable for an opioid abuse epidemic that U.S. authorities information reveals led to almost 500,000 overdose deaths from 1999 to 2019.
The pharmacy operators deny wrongdoing. CVS stated its pharmacies “fill legitimate prescriptions written by licensed doctors.”
Walgreens stated it took satisfaction within the judgment of its pharmacists, and Large Eagle stated pharmacy inspectors concluded it complied with the regulation. Walmart didn’t reply to requests for remark.
Ought to a jury discover the businesses liable, U.S. District Choose Dan Polster will decide how a lot they need to pay to abate, or deal with, the well being disaster within the communities. He has urged the events to settle. learn extra
The trial comes after the three largest U.S. distributors that provide pharmacies – McKesson Corp (MCK.N), Cardinal Well being Inc (CAH.N) and AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC.N) – and the drugmaker Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) in July proposed paying as much as $26 billion to settle circumstances in opposition to them. learn extra
A chapter choose in August authorised a settlement by OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and its rich Sackler household homeowners that the corporate values at greater than $10 billion. learn extra
Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston;
Enhancing by Noeleen Walder and Invoice Berkrot
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