Cleveland Judge Says Racketeering Claims Against Industry Should Proceed
A U.S. Magistrate recommended that an Ohio lawsuit alleging prominent drug firms, pharmacies and distributors were involved in opioid racketeering proceed to trial, rejecting motions to dismiss the case.
The case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, is yet another lawsuit aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic.
Cities and counties affected by the opioid crisis, including Broward County, Florida, Cleveland, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois, charged that major pharma companies — such as Johnson & Johnson, Allergan, Rite Aid and the “big three” distributors (AmerisourceBergen, McKesson and Cardinal Health) — engaged in improper distribution and marketing of opioids nationwide.
Allegations that the companies failed to “monitor, report and prevent the diversion of prescription opioids” and caused the state “extraordinary municipal costs,” were sufficient to move ahead, according to U.S. Magistrate Judge David Ruiz.
The court is now awaiting responses from the parties, with each pharmaceutical group — manufacturers, pharmacies and distributors — ordered to condense their objections into a single document. The responses are due in November.