Four players in opioid epidemic face trial in Ohio Monday

Barring a last-minute settlement agreement, lawyers representing drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, wholesalers Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen and retail pharmacy operator Walgreens Boots Alliance will be in a Cleveland, Ohio courtroom on Monday to face plaintiffs, two counties in the state (Cuyahoga and Summit), in a trial over the companies’ respective roles in the opioid epidemic there (mainly over-aggressive marketing while downplaying the risk of addiction).

Apparently, the companies had agreed to pay as much as $48B over time to call off the trial and settle thousands of related lawsuits but talks stalled when contingency-fee lawyers representing local governments insisted on more money.

District court Judge Dan Polster has set aside December 13 for evidence to be presented to the jury. Each side has 100 hours do state their respective cases, which some of the defendants say is woefully inadequate to argue a case of this complexity.

Private held Purdue Pharma, the poster child for the crisis, will not be present since it filed for bankruptcy last month.


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