NORMAN J CLEMENT RPH., DDS, NORMAN L.CLEMENT PHARM-TECH, MALACHI F. MACKANDAL PHARMD, BELINDA BROWN-PARKER, IN THE SPIRIT OF JOSEPH SOLVO ESQ., IN THE SPIRIT OF REV. C.T. VIVIAN, JELANI ZIMBABWE CLEMENT, BS., MBA., IN THE SPIRIT OF THE HON. PATRICE LUMUMBA, IN THE SPIRIT OF ERLIN CLEMENT SR., WALTER F. WRENN III., MD., JULIE KILLINGWORTH, WILLIE GUINYARD BS., JOSEPH WEBSTER MD., MBA, BEVERLY C. PRINCE MD., FACS., RICHARD KAUL, MD., LEROY BAYLOR, JAY K. JOSHI MD., MBA, ADRIENNE EDMUNDSON, ESTER HYATT PH.D., WALTER L. SMITH BS., IN THE SPIRIT OF BRAHM FISHER ESQ., MICHELE ALEXANDER MD., CUDJOE WILDING BS, MARTIN NDJOU, BS., RPH., IN THE SPIRIT OF DEBRA LYNN SHEPHERD, BERES E. MUSCHETT, STRATEGIC ADVISORS
KATHERINE HAYHOE, A CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENTIST:
“THE WORLD HAS ALWAYS CHANGED WHEN ORDINARY PEOPLE OF NO PARTICULAR POWER OR REPUTE SPOKE OUT “
NOVEMBER 2, 2021
By Pat Anson, PNN Editor
In a major victory for the pharmaceutical industry, a California judge has ruled that four opioid manufacturers did not use deceptive marketing to promote pain relievers and are not liable for the state’s opioid crisis.
Three California counties and the city of Oakland filed suit against Johnson & Johnson, Allergan, Endo and Teva Pharmaceuticals, claiming they used false and misleading marketing to increase sales of prescription opioids.
But in Monday’s ruling, Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson said there was no evidence that “medically appropriate prescriptions” fueled the opioid crisis.
“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,” Judge Wilson wrote in a 41-page ruling. “Any adverse downstream consequences flowing from medically appropriate prescriptions cannot constitute an actionable public nuisance.”
Plaintiff law firms representing local governments across the nation have filed over 3,000 lawsuits against drug companies for their role in the opioid crisis. Several cases have already been settled out of court.
Los Angeles, Orange and Santa Clara counties and the city of Oakland wanted the four drug companies to pay over $50 billion in fines to fund addiction treatment and other public health programs. The law firm of Motley Rice filed the initial lawsuit in 2014 on behalf of Santa Clara county, and the case snowballed from there into nationwide litigation against opioid makers, distributors and pharmacies. If successful, the plaintiff law firms stand to make billions of dollars in contingency fees.
Judge Wilson’s ruling – which only applies to the California case — was the first big win for drug companies involved in opioid litigation. The plantiff law firms said they would appeal.
“The people of California will have their opportunity to pursue justice on appeal and ensure no opioid manufacturer can engage in reckless corporate practices that compromise public health in the state for their own profit,” the lawyers said in a statement.
Anti-opioid activists have long claimed that “overprescribing” of opioid medication fueled the U.S. drug abuse crisis, an argument that Wilson rejected.
“Mere proof of a rise in opioid prescriptions does not, without more, prove there was also a rise in medically inappropriate prescriptions,” Wilson said in his ruling.
Johnson & Johnson issued a statement calling Wilson’s ruling “well-reasoned.” It said the company’s “marketing and promotion of its important prescription pain medications were appropriate and responsible and did not cause any public nuisance.”
In 2019, an Oklahoma judge ruled J&J was liable for $465 million in damages for its marketing of opioids, a case that is still under appeal. The company recently proposed a nationwide settlement of $5 billion and agreed to stop making opioid medication. It voluntarily halted sales of prescription opioids last year.
Although opioid prescribing has fallen significantly over the past decade, overdoses have risen to record highs. The vast majority of drug deaths involve illicit fentanyl and other street drugs, not prescription opioids.
The DEA recently issued a public safety alert warning of a surge in counterfeit pills made with illicit fentanyl. The agency has also proposed further cuts in the legal supply of prescription opioids in 2022.
CONGRESS: CLEAN UP THIS MESS
THE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATION. 1990
“WHAT THEY FOUND ACROSS THE BOARD THE WAR ON DRUGS WAS HAVING A DISPROPORTION IMPACT ON BLACK PEOPLE”
It is past time for Congress to correct the mess they have made of the regulation of opioid pain relievers. Here is contact information for your Senators, Representatives, and governor’ offices. Call them and demand that they:
- familiarize themselves with the problems they have created by reading this article in STAT news.
- begin work on legislation to force the repeal of the CDC Guidelines
- reign in regulators and drug enforcement authorities from their senseless and unfounded persecution of doctors.
FOR NOW, YOU ARE
WITHIN THE NORMS