Litigation Update: Opioid Trial Postponed Indefinitely

The trial in the lawsuit filed by New York State Attorney General Letitia James against a number of major drug companies including Endo Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Allergan Inc., McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp., Rochester Drug Cooperative Inc. and divisions of Johnson & Johnson has been postponed indefinitely due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis.  The trial, originally scheduled for March 20, had been viewed as an incentive in the resolution of ongoing settlement discussions.  A status conference is scheduled for April 14 to determine the next steps for the trial.  Under the pressure of a looming trial date in Ohio last October, tentative settlements were reached with a number of distributors as well as generic drug manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals, though this settlement has yet to be finalized.

Meanwhile in Ohio, several communities are reporting increases in opioid related deaths, attributed at least in part to the stress and social isolation brought on by the coronavirus epidemic.  The situation is exacerbated by the fact that socially marginalized people who suffer from medical and psychiatric conditions associated with drug addiction are often disproportionately affected by the financial and societal disruptions caused by epidemics like COVID-19, which may in turn lead to increased opioid overdose rates.

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