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30 Dec 2019

Eric Heisig, Cleveland.com

USA: 2020 may bring even more nationwide opioid-related litigation

"Here’s what to expect from the opioid litigation in Cleveland, other states in 2020" 27 Dec 2019

While 2019 was a big year for drug companies facing lawsuits nationwide over the massive opioid epidemic, next year could be even bigger.

Lawsuits that seek to hold drug companies accountable for thousands of overdoses deaths are scheduled to go to trial in 2020. If 2019 was any indication of the outcome, the looming trials set to take place in a federal court in Cleveland and in other parts of the country mean drug companies will face more pressure to reach settlements to avoid the specter of large jury verdicts.

The lawsuits largely accuse drug manufacturers of downplaying the risks of addictive opioid medication and distributors of missing the warning signs that suspicious and excessive orders of painkillers were going to all parts of the country. Pharmacy companies also face allegations that they dispensed excessively large amounts of prescription painkillers while more and more people died of overdose deaths...

In 2020, the judge is expected to continue to push for a settlement to resolve all the cases. Negotiations for such a global settlement have taken place and are expected to continue...

The cases, like the one set for Cleveland, are designed to lead into so-called “bellwether trials,” or test trials designed to show how a jury may react to similar claims or whether the litigation will lead to settlements.