Four Companies Face California Trial Over Claims They Fueled Opioid Epidemic

 Monday, April 19, 2021

 Reuters

Four drugmakers are set to face trial on Monday in a lawsuit by several large counties in California that are seeking more than $50 billion over claims the companies helped fuel an opioid epidemic by deceptively marketing addictive painkillers.

The case against Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA.TA), Endo International PLC (ENDP.O) and AbbVie’s (ABBV.N) Allergan unit is one of the thousands of lawsuits by states and local governments seeking to hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for the drug crisis.

Opioids have resulted in the overdose deaths of nearly 500,000 people from 1999 to 2019 in the United States, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The populous Santa Clara, Los Angeles and Orange counties and the city of Oakland accuse the companies of deceptively marketing painkillers in ways that downplayed their addictive risks.

The drugmakers argue they acted appropriately and that they did not cause the epidemic.
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