The never-ending opioid lawsuits - WSJ

Photo: Cloé Poisson/Zuma Press Politicians...



Photo:

Cloé Poisson/Zuma Press

Politicians and litigators are blocking companies all along the pharmaceutical supply chain like Bonnie and Clyde. The shotgun is Federal Judge Dan Aaron Polster, who on Wednesday ordered CVS,

Walgreens

and

walmart

providing $650 million to two counties in Ohio to address opioid abuse. Now on to the next raid.

Judge Polster is overseeing some 3,000 opioid lawsuits brought by municipalities and their attorney friends against drug manufacturers, distributors and retailers. His explicit goal is to push companies to write a big check to do “something meaningful to alleviate the crisis”, as he said during a hearing in 2018. “We don’t need a lot of memoirs and we don’t need trials.”

To expedite a settlement, he called for a landmark lawsuit against the three major drugstore chains to litigate the two counties’ claims. They say pharmacies should have known that the opioids they dispensed would be abused, regardless of whether state medical and pharmaceutical boards threatened to discipline pharmacists who refuse to fill legal prescriptions.

As we havewriting, Judge Polster repeatedly violated federal rules of civil procedure and evidence to aid trial attorneys. In November, a jury found the pharmacies liable for creating a public nuisance, and the judge is now ordering them to pay what amounts to about $1,500 per person in each county.

Although this is less than the $2 billion requested by the counties, the plaintiffs are still aiming for the stars and hoping to land on the moon. In this case, they arrived on Mars. If defendants are required to pay a similar amount in the roughly 3,000 other opioid cases, they could end up paying more than $1 trillion. Pharmacies could appeal the verdict, but Judge Polster is betting they will choose to cut checks to settle other cases, as some companies have done.

Rite

This summer, the aid paid $10.5 million to settle lawsuits brought by three counties in a multidistrict dispute.

Johnson & Johnson

and three distributors last summer agreed to pay $26 billion to settle thousands more. Lawsuits transfer wealth from private companies to governments and the bar, and the costs will invariably be passed on to clients.

Politicians howl about high drug prices. How about looking at yourself in the mirror?

Journal editorial report: The best and worst of the week from Kim Strassel, Kyle Peterson and Dan Henninger. Images: Reuters/Shutterstock/Zuma Press Composite: Mark Kelly

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Newsrust - US Top News: The never-ending opioid lawsuits - WSJ
The never-ending opioid lawsuits - WSJ
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