Coronavirus Impacts National Opioid Litigation Timeline

Given the ongoing national response to the coronavirus and recent announcement of local, state, and federal actions to quell viral spread, the New York Supreme Court announced on Tuesday that the trial state’s first trial related to the opioid epidemic would be delayed indefinitely with a status conference set for April 14th.

Following the announcement from New York state, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Attorney General Dave Yost announced on Wednesday an agreement by representatives of more than 85% of Ohioans around a joint approach to settlement negotiations related to the opioid epidemic litigation. According to a press release issued by Governor DeWine, any future settlement funds will be distributed as follows:

  • 30% will be set aside for community recovery efforts to address immediate issues;
  • 55% will be set aside for creation and funding of a statewide foundation of short- and long-term planning among local communities; and
  • 15% will be set aside for the state to allocate towards prevention, treatment and recovery services.


NY Attorney General Letitia James – Out Of Abundance Of Caution, Opioid Trial Delayed Due To Coronavirus

Law360 – Coronavirus Derails Eagerly Awaited New York Opioid Trial

LINK – Ohio Governor, Attorney General Announce OneOhio Agreement

OIG Report Finds Subpar Oversight of OTP Accreditation Bodies

Last week, the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services released a findings of an investigation into the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) oversight of accrediting bodies for opioid treatment programs. Over a period of two years, OIG reviewed 30 reports from accrediting bodies that are used to further substantiate the agency’s certification of OTPs. Overall, OIG’s review found inconsistencies in reporting from SAMHSA’s oversight of these bodies and lesser number of reviews than intended. From the findings of the report, OIG suggests that SAMHSA take initiative towards meeting the anticipated number of inspections per year and better respond to the findings and corrections related to noncompliance.

Articles & Resources

HHS Office of the Inspector General – SAMHSA’s Oversight of Accreditation Bodies for Opioid Treatment Programs Did Not Comply With Some Federal Requirements


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

STAT News – I Thought I Understood the Sacklers’ Opioid Empire. Startling Documents I Found Showed I Was Wrong.

VeloNews – The Outer Line: How Drug Anti-Diversion Techniques Can Be Used to Curb Doping

Bangor Daily News – Maine Prisons Will Expand Use of ‘Gold Standard’ Treatment for Inmates with Opioid Addiction – Cuyahoga County Approves First-Round Programs Funded by Opioid Settlement Money

News Tribune – Missouri Could Be Final State to Track Prescription Opioids

U.S. News & World Report – After Tooth Pull, Opioids Don’t Relieve Pain Better Than Other Meds

Journal of the American Medical Association – Disappointing Early Results From Opioid Prescribing Limits for Acute Pain

HHS Office of the Inspector General – Factsheet: Kentucky’s Oversight of Opioid Prescribing and Monitoring of Opioid Use

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – AHRQ Report Reviews 47 Practices to Improve Patient Safety

Department of Justice – The National Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program Forum Presents Ways to Combat Addiction Crisis

Department of Justice Owner of Detroit-Area Health Care Clinic Sentenced to Prison for a Drug Diversion Scheme

U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida – Florida Doctor Pleads Guilty To False Statement Relating To Prescribing Opioids

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York – Former Registered Nurse Receives 30 Months for Distribution of Opioids, Health Care Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft, and Obstruction of Justice

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania – Pharmacist Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Conspiring to Steal More than $4.5 Million in Prescription Reimbursements and for Unlawful Opioid Distribution and Agrees to Pay $300,000 to Settle False Claims Act Litigation

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri – St. Louis Mail Handler Sentenced for Stealing Medication Parcels for His Own Personal Use

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma – Oklahoma City Anesthesiologist Pays $70,000 and Surrenders His Medical License and DEA Registration Number to Settle Civil Penalty Claims

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania – Dark Web Narcotics Traffickers Sentenced to Prison for Importing and Distributing Controlled Substances from China

This Week’s Calendar

There are no noticed hearings at this time as the Senate will remain in town next week for further coordination on the national response to the coronavirus pandemic and recent announcement of a national emergency. In the instance that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.

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