A little over a year ago the arguments started in an enthralling trial involving three of the biggest drug dealers in the country. Three of the largest drug distributors in America, City of Huntington, West Virginia, and Cabell County asserted they were able to prove that McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health created a public issue by allowing the flood of prescribed opioids into the communities they reside in.
This was the first of over 3000 federal opioid lawsuits that are that are based on the concept of public nuisance that made it to the trial phase. In the past, a number of important players within the field of medicine have agreed to pay massive settlements in exchange for their roles in the crises. Huntington as well as Cabell County demanded $2.5 billion of compensation.
However, this week an federal judge ruled it was the case that McKesson, Amerisource Bergen, as well as Cardinal Health are not responsible for the destruction that the opioids caused in West Virginia.
An Unsatisfactory Result in Cities and Counties
Huntington as well as Cabell County contended that the distributors did not to ensure that they had adequate controls in place that would be able to stop the high demand of addictive substances such as Oxycodone. In the trial, lawyers for McKesson asserted that making the company liable will “force the distributors to question physicians’ prescription decisions.”
After hearing the testimony of more than 70 people, U.S. District Judge David Faber agreed, holding that the huge amount of opioids that were pumped into these communities was due to “good good faith” doctor-prescribed decisions and not by the drug distributors.
“[T]here is nothing illegal about distribution of controlled substances in order to meet legal prescriptions” Faber wrote. The author further argued that the manufacturers of opioids, not distributors, were involved in misleading marketing strategies which played down the addictive properties of the drugs.
“The epidemic of opioids has taken a significant toll on the residents from Cabell County and the City of Huntington,” the opinion concluding. “And even though there’s the natural instinct to place the blame however, the decision must be not on the basis of sympathy rather on evidence and law.”
What does this mean for other cases of Opioid?
In August of 2019 An Oklahoma state judge had ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $465 million for the cost of mitigation for one year in connection with the state’s struggle against opioids. But an appeals court in the Oklahoma Supreme Court overturned that decision in the month of November 2021. that put the thousands of plaintiffs seeking compensation for opioids into a difficult position.
The verdict of the court in Cabell County and Huntington’s case is likely to cause other contesting pharmaceutical firms feel uneasy. A separate trial scheduled for West Virginia against the same defendants is now back in the wake of the decision of Faber. This case covers more than 100 counties and cities.
Even though they did not face being held accountable during their West Virginia case, the three businesses have not come free of liability. On October 20, 2021, the three companies reached an agreement to settle for $75 million in order to settle a dispute filed through The Cherokee Nation.
The Sackler family, which has been the owners of Purdue Pharma since the 1950s they offered $6 billion in February in order to settle numerous legal cases brought by local and state authorities. It initially appeared that a number of states holding out refused to take the offer. However, on the 3rd of March 9 attorneys general had acquiescence to the deal.