Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Edward T. Kang, Kang Haggerty & Fetbroyt Edward T. Kang, Kang Haggerty & Fetbroyt

While the country has been focused on the tragic losses and economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, another plague, a man-made one 20 years in the making, continues to quietly rage in the background: the opioid crisis. The opioid epidemic was a perfect storm, caused by years of over-promotion, over-prescription and dangerous marketing campaigns. Integral to this “perfect storm” was not just the drug manufacturers’ conduct, but also third parties, such as private equity and consulting companies, who all played critical roles. Unfortunately, this crisis has taken a turn for the worse. Authorities nationwide have reported upticks in opioid overdose deaths, which sadly have been exacerbated by social distancing measures and the reduction in critical government funds as attention is turned to fighting COVID-19. As multiple waves of opioid litigation have come and gone, from personal injury actions to class actions, to more recently, suits brought by state, city and local governments, the question remains, who does the responsibility of the opioid crisis rest with? Does it remain solely with the pharmaceutical manufacturers, or does justice also require holding other third parties, such as pharmacies, distributors, private equity firms, and consultants liable for their critical role in the crisis?

Learning from past public health tort litigation, the current wave of opioid litigation brought by government plaintiffs, who are armed with more robust resources, have had the most success. Typically, these actions are brought asserting state-based public nuisance, fraud, unjust enrichment, and other state law claims. See, City of Philadelphia v. Allergan, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, No. 180102718; City of San Francisco v. Purdue Pharma, Case No. 3:18-cv-07591-CRB (N.D. Cal. Sep. 30, 2020); State v. Purdue Pharma, C.A. No. N18C-01-223 MMJ CCLD (Del. Super. Ct. Feb. 4, 2019); and State v. Purdue Pharma, C.A. No. PC-2018-4555 (R.I. Super. Aug. 16, 2019). There have also been several ongoing lawsuits brought under the False Claims Act against drug manufacturers as well as specialty pharmacies for their role in the crisis (see, United States v. McKesson, No. 19-cv-02233-DMR, 2020 WL 4805034, (N.D. Cal. Aug. 18, 2020) and United States v. Insys Therapeutics, Case No. 1:19-cr-10191-RWZ (D. Mass)).

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

Pennsylvania Causes of ActionBook

Pennsylvania Causes of Action is a unique and indispensable working resource for any law office. It sets forth theories of recovery under Pennsylvania law, provides defe...

Get More Information

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.