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Opioid Epidemic

  • The Opioid Crisis: Drug Executives to Testify Before Congress About Their Role in Distributing Powerful Painkillers  Washington Post by Katie Zezima and Scott Higham — Current and former executives with the pharmaceutical distributors that are accused of flooding communities with powerful prescription painkillers have been summoned to testify before Congress about their role in the U.S. opioid epidemic. The hearing, scheduled for May 8 before a House Energy and Commerce Committee oversight panel, has the potential to be a defining moment for the pharmaceutical industry, much like when tobacco executives were called to testify before Congress in 1994. The pharmaceutical executives are expected to face tough questions under oath about why their companies pumped so many highly addictive pain pills into West Virginia and other states, fueling what has become the deadliest drug crisis in U.S. history.

  • Judge Schedules Trial in Massive Opioid Lawsuit  The Hill by Peter Sullivan — A federal judge in Ohio has set a trial date for part of a massive combined lawsuit against drug manufacturers and distributors over the opioid epidemic. Judge Dan Polster on Wednesday set a March 2019 trial date for cases from three of the cities and counties that are suing drug companies. Those cases would be the first of hundreds brought under Polster's review to see a trial and could serve as "bellwethers" that help both sides test the waters. The cases are being closely watched to see if they produce a settlement that forces changes meant to fight the opioid epidemic. Polster said in January that he wanted to take actions that would stem the tide of the crisis. Polster said Wednesday that while he wants a settlement, the companies have "asserted forcefully that they cannot reach final settlement without litigating certain matters," according to Reuters.

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