A U.S. judge on Tuesday denied efforts by major drug manufacturers, pharmacies and vendors to clear allegations that they caused the nation’s opioid crisis, clearing the way for a listed landmark hearing even as he pushes for a nationwide settlement.
U.S. District Judge Dan Polster, who manages roughly 2,000 opioid cases by states, counties, and cities, said the plaintiffs could try to prove that drug manufacturers’ misleading marketing of the painkillers caused a dangerous, massive enhance in supply that pharmacies and distributors didn’t do enough to stop.
The judgment was among seven decisions and orders totaling 80 pages from Polster ahead of a scheduled Oct. 21 trial by two Ohio counties against Purdue Pharma, the OxyContin maker blamed for fueling the plague, and several different defendants.
Polster also refused to suspend civil conspiracy claims against drug companies, pharmacies, and vendors and said federal law did not pre-empt much of the plaintiffs’ case.
Other defendants included Endo International and Johnson & Johnson; pharmacy operators CVS Health, Rite Aid, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Walmart; and vendors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson.
Polster further refused to dismiss a variety of claims in opposition to generic drugmakers Allergan, Mallinckrodt, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.
Opioid addiction claimed nearly 400,000 lives in the US from 1999 to 2017, following the data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Critics of the industry stated opioid makers hid the addiction and abuse risks of prolonged use from consumers.
Rite Help’s lawyers refused to remark. Lawyers for other main defendants did not instantly respond to requests for comment.