Opioid MDL Slated to Start Today Amid Ongoing Settlement Discussions

Amid steps taken to prepare for the opioid multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of Ohio next week, several defendants remain in discussion with plaintiff’s counsel regarding settlements and ultimate removal from the sprawling case. Opening arguments are slated to begin on Monday with chief executives from four defendants ordered to appear in the Cleveland court on Friday for continued negotiation. Representatives from several manufacturers and distributors have outlined a potential settlement structure that amounts to nearly $50 billion in a global settlement and removal from any future litigation.

According to the proposed terms, the pharmaceutical distributors McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health would outlay $18 billion over a period of 18 years. Pharmaceutical manufacturer Johnson & Johnson would provide an addition $4 billion and Teva Pharmaceuticals would provide approximately $26 billion in drugs for the treatment of substance use disorders, including the cost for distribution. All corporations have not yet settled to avoid the forthcoming trial with the exception of Johnson & Johnson which previously settled with both counties for a combined $20.4 million. At time of circulation, no additional information is available as to the proposed settlement terms or additional offers from other defendants in the Track 1 bellwether trial.

Resources

Associated Press – Jury Seated In Opioid Case, But Settlement Talks Go On

Washington Post – Landmark Opioid Trial Could Be Averted if Friday Meeting Ends in Settlement

Reuters – Opioid Settlement Talks Falter, Landmark Trial Expected Monday


Actuarial Assessment Estimates Opioid Epidemic Responsible for $631 Billion Impact

The Society of Actuaries on Tuesday announced the release of a comprehensive report that estimates the opioid epidemic’s impact on the U.S. economy far exceeds $600 billion between 2015 and 2018. Broken down into individual components, the impact of the epidemic is categorized across 5 areas of interest with associated financial burdens:

  • Healthcare ($205 billion; 33%)
  • Premature Mortality ($253 billion; 40%)
  • Criminal Justice-related Activities ($39 billion; 6%)
  • Child and Family Assistance and Education Programs ($39 billion; 6%)
  • Lost Productivity ($96 billion; 15%)

For 2019 alone, the researchers estimate an impact ranging between $172 billion and $214 billion based upon three potential scenarios with varying levels of estimated opioid use and overdose deaths. A PDF copy of the report can be found attached to this email.

Articles & Resources

Society of Actuaries – Opioid Epidemic Cost the U.S. Economy at Least $631 Billion Over Four Years: Society of Actuaries’ Analysis (Report)

Bloomberg Government – New Study: Opioid Crisis Cost US Economy $631 Billion Over 4 Years


What We Read Last Week

Several articles were published last week pertaining to the opioid epidemic, covering a variety of different components of the issue. Links to relevant articles are provided below.

Articles & Resources

The New Yorker – My Years in the Florida Shuffle of Drug Addiction

The New York Times Magazine – The China Connection: How One DEA. Agent Cracked a Global Fentanyl Ring

Washington Post – The Opioid Files: ‘They Looked At Us Like An Easy Target’

NPR – Opioid Crisis: A Guide to the Massive (And Massively Complex) Litigation

Associated Press – Judge Says He Miscalculated Award by $107M in Opioid Case

Boston Globe – NFL, Players Taking Strides to Address Pain Management

Los Angeles Times – Opioid Addiction Can Be Overcome with Mindfulness, Study Suggests

Food and Drug Administration – Expanding Criminal Enforcement Operations Globally to Protect Public Health

Drug Enforcement Administration – DEA to Accept Electronic Vaping Devices and Cartridges As Part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Department of Justice – Ohio Doctor Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Distribution of Opioids

Department of Justice – Kentucky Physician Pleads Guilty to Unlawfully Distributing Opioids

Department of Justice – Two East Tennessee Doctors Plead Guilty to Opioid Offenses

U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado – Colorado Doctor Sentenced To Federal Prison For Illegally Distributing Oxycodone, Defrauding Employee Benefit Plans, And Falsifying Patient Files

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania – Former Suboxone Clinic Doctor Sentenced for Illegal Prescribing and Healthcare Fraud

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania – Greensburg Doctor Convicted at Trial of Illegally Dispensing Opioid Prescriptions

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California – Online Drug Dealer Sentenced to 15 Years for Distributing Counterfeit Pills Containing Fentanyl that Caused Overdose Death


This Week’s Calendar

The House and Senate are in town for a full week’s worth of business. At this time, however, there are no relevant hearings or events related to opioids on the calendar. Should there be any additions to House or Senate schedules or updates with respect to additional events, this information will be made available.

MAPDA 1st Annual Humanitarian Award Luncheon
Hosted by the Honorable Mary Bono and Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse
Wednesday, October 23rd, Charlie Palmer Steak (101 Constitution Avenue); 11:30am


Questions about the above content can be directed to Matthew.Rubin@FaegreBD.com.