Oklahoma falls to some claims against opioid companies in civilian drag: NPR

Oklahoma lawyer Mike Hunter, pictured on Monday, has mated back the state's lawsuit against opioid drug users.

Sue Ogrocki / AP

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Sue Ogrocki / AP

US lawyer Mike Hunter, pictured on Monday, has filed a state lawsuit against opioid drug users.

Sue Ogrocki / AP

One week after winning a $ 270 million settlement against Purdue Pharma, Oklahoma escapes a rifle list of civil claims against drug companies in the center of the national opioid epidemic. Lawyer-General Mike Hunter said the move would "refocus" the lawsuit slated to go to trial on May 28.

"As we got closer to the trial, it became increasingly apparent to us that our strongest case for action against the defendants was publicly disadvantaged," Hunter said in an interview with public media StateImpact Oklahoma. Public offenses refer to crimes that harm members of the public, including public health damage.

Hunter's suit still accuses companies like Johnson & Johnson, Allergan and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA of contributing to a costly addiction crisis through aggressive marketing and sale of prescription opioid analgesics.

If the state's health claim claims, Big Pharma may have to spend billions of dollars in Oklahoma to ease the epidemic. "It doesn't reduce the amount of damage we think we can justify to the judge," Hunter said. Estimating a final payout could get into "billions of dollars."

Last Minute legal maneuvers in the case are carefully monitored because this is one of the first major opioid cases slated to try this year. Legal experts have long predicted that many of the specific claims against drug agencies would eventually be dropped or changed.

Alexandra Lahav, a legal professor at the University of Connecticut, said: "I think it is possible that [the state] may think that you do not have sufficient evidence against these defendants, as opposed to Purdue's sue."

" There is particularly bad evidence against Purdue, both the Sackler family members and discouraging emails, "Lahav said. "I don't know what evidence it is about Johnson & Johnson and Teva.

The filing of Hunter's team on Thursday effectively suspended claims from Oklahoma that drug companies committed fraud, fraud, enjoyed "unfair enrichment" or made false claims of compensation under the state's Medicaid program.

Sabrina Strong, attorney for Johnson & Johnson and the subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals issued a statement to NPR and other media saying the move of Hunter showed that most claims were without profit.

"The evidence presented at the trial shows that Janssen's marketing and marketing actions for his important, FDA-approved prescription painkillers were appropriate and responsible," he said. "We will continue to defend against the remaining groundless and unfounded The claims. "

Hunter said scaling of state lawsuits would accelerate the trial so that any drug company payments could be used to help communities recover from the epidemic, and he also claimed that the claims could be restored at a later date. [19659008] "The state has suffered a great deal," said Hunter, "this is the most cautious and most strategically effective way to continue."

Oklahoma's filing also urges the court judge Thad Balkman to hear the case without a jury present. drug companies are expected to respond to that request early next week.

This hi The story comes from North Country Public Radio and StateImpact Oklahoma.

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