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12 Apr 2018

Eric Heisig, cleveland.com (USA)

Cleveland, Cuyahoga County's opioid lawsuits set as first cases against drug companies to go to trial, judge says

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A federal judge in Cleveland...set a trial date for next year for three lawsuits filed by Northeast Ohio governments against drug companies over the nation's opioid epidemic.  U.S. District Judge Dan Polster wrote that he plans to hold a combined trial for city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and Summit County beginning March 18, 2019...Polster is presiding over hundreds of suits against drug manufacturers and distributors filed by governments from every corner of the country.  The trio of Ohio cases would be the first in a series of...test cases that give attorneys an idea of how future cases may play out...The judge also chose cases from West Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, Florida and Alabama for possible future bellwether trials...The suits say drug manufacturers overstated the benefits and downplayed the risks of addiction when treating pain with opioids, and that distributors failed to properly monitor suspicious orders of painkillers...Polster...ordered the full release of nine years of data the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration collects on prescription drug sales for the six states that will have cases going to trial...