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InvestmentsCalifornia judge delivers drugmakers 1st trial win in opioid litigation By Reuters

California judge delivers drugmakers 1st trial win in opioid litigation By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Johnson & Johnson emblem is displayed on a display screen on the ground of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid


By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) -A California judge on Monday stated he would rule in opposition to a number of giant 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 Court Judge Peter Wilson issued a tentative ruling https://tmsnrt.rs/3mwfCNb discovering Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE:) Ltd, Endo International (NASDAQ:) PLC and AbbVie Inc (NYSE:)’s Allergan (NYSE:) unit not liable.

It marked the primary trial win for any drug corporations 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.

The ruling got here as J&J and the three largest U.S. drug distributors – McKesson Corp (NYSE:), Cardinal Health Inc (NYSE:) and AmersourceBergen — work to finalize a proposed deal to pay as much as $26 billion to settle the 1000’s of instances in opposition to them.

A chapter judge in August authorized a settlement by OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and its rich Sackler household house owners of the claims in opposition to them that the corporate values at greater than $10 billion.

During a months-long, non-jury trial, the populous Santa Clara, Los Angeles and Orange counties and the 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 capsules 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.

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

He agreed with the businesses that the epidemic couldn’t be thought-about a authorized public nuisance as a result of the federal authorities and the state had on the time decided the advantages of medically applicable 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 an announcement 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 an announcement 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 may doubtlessly problem the tentative ruling earlier than it turns into remaining. Tentative choices are typical in California state courts.

In an announcement, the lead attorneys overseeing associated federal lawsuits in opposition to the businesses — Jayne Conroy, Paul Farrell and Joe Rice — stated they strongly disagreed with the ruling and burdened that it didn’t influence associated instances nationally.

The solely different opioid trial to achieve 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 in opposition to Teva and AbbVie and in Ohio in opposition to three pharmacy chain operators. A West Virginia federal judge just lately completed listening to proof in a trial involving the distributors.

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