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Another case postponed after West Virginia opioid verdict

Article author:

The Associated Press

Associated Press

John Raby

Charleston, West Virginia (AP) —A lawsuit accusing three major U.S. pharmaceutical companies of causing a health crisis across West Virginia It was postponed to Tuesday, the day after the company won another proceeding in the state.

A lawyer representing Cabell County and Huntington City in the defeat of a verdict announced in federal court on Monday was allowed to continue the trial in the Kanah County Circuit Court the next day. The trial involves more than 100 other cities and counties against the same defendant across the state. AmerisourceBergenDrugCo., Cardinal Health Inc., McKesson Corp.

Judge's office just before the start of the hearing. Upon entering the court, plaintiffs' lawyers demanded that the trial continue. The defense had no objections and the request was approved.

In a federal bench trial, U.S. district judge David Faber said plaintiffs put regulated substances on entities that do not hold proper registration from the Drug Control Agency or the State Council. He said he did not provide proof that he had distributed it. pharmacy. Defendants also have systems in place to monitor suspicious activity, as required by the Controlled Substances Act, he said.

"Plaintiffs could not show that the amount of prescription opioids distributed at Cabell / Hunterton was due to the defendant's injustice," Faber said in that case. I wrote in a decision made almost a year after closing arguments. ..

Cabell County-Huntington proceedings alleged that distributors flooded the Ohio River community with 81 million tablets in eight years, causing pollution. The proceedings sought more than $ 2.5 billion that would have been directed towards reduction efforts. However, Mr. Farber said the West Virginia Supreme Court applied pollution law only in the context of acts that interfere with public property and resources. He said extending the law to cover opioid marketing and sales is "contradictory to the traditional notion of history and obstruction."

Both companies have accused doctors of increasing prescriptions and federal agencies for inadequate communication and pill allocation.

Huntington has long been the epicenter of a national opioid addiction and overdose epidemic, leading to more than 500,000 deaths in the last two decades. Due to its position, West Virginia became more proactive in trauma proceedings than most states. In 2017 and 2019, we settled with three distributors for a total of $ 73 million worth of transactions.

However, the state did not participate in the $ 21 billion national settlement with these companies, which was finalized this year, and went to West Virginia more than the state received. Brought a large amount of payment. Previous transaction.

The national impact of Monday's ruling in West Virginia is silenced as companies reach a broader reconciliation aimed at investing most of their money in the fight against the opioid crisis. There is a possibility.

In another proceeding, West Virginia reached a tentative $ 161.5 million settlement with Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc., AbbVie's Allergan and their families in May and with Endo Health Solutions in March. A settlement of $ 26 million has been reached.


The Associated Press writer Geoff Mulvihill contributed to this report.