Judge urges action on ‘100 percent manmade’ opioid crisis


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge this week set a goal of doing something about the nation’s opioid epidemic this year, while noting the drug crisis is “100 percent man-made.”

Judge Dan Polster on Tuesday urged participants on all sides of lawsuits against drugmakers and distributors to work toward a common goal of reducing overdose deaths. He said the issue has come to courts because “other branches of government have punted” it.

The judge is overseeing more than 180 lawsuits against drug companies brought by local communities across the country, including those in California, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. Municipalities include San Joaquin County in California; Portsmouth, Ohio; and Huntington, West Virginia.

 Polster said the goal must be reining in the amount of painkillers available.

“What we’ve got to do is dramatically reduce the number of pills that are out there, and make sure that the pills that are out there are being used properly,” Polster said during a hearing in his Cleveland courtroom. “Because we all know that a whole lot of them have gone walking, with devastating results.”

The judge said he believes everyone from drugmakers to doctors to individuals bear some responsibility for the crisis and haven’t done enough to stop it.

The government tallied 63,600 overdose drug deaths in 2016, another record. Most of the deaths involved prescription opioids such as OxyContin or Vicodin or related illicit drugs such as heroin and fentanyl.

The epidemic is the most widespread and deadly drug crisis in the nation’s history, and for now shows little sign of abating. Counties in hard-hit Ohio already were recording overdose deaths last year that would put the state above its record 4,050 deaths in 2016.

Hundreds of lawsuits filed by municipal and county governments could end up as part of the consolidated federal case overseen by Polster, but others are not likely to.

Some government bodies, including Ohio and at least nine other states, are suing the industry in state courts. Additionally, most states have joined a multistate investigation of the industry that could end up sparking a settlement or yet more litigation against the industry.

 Targets of the lawsuits include drugmakers such as Allergan, Johnson & Johnson, and Purdue Pharma, and the three large drug distribution companies, Amerisource Bergen, Ohio-based Cardinal Health and McKesson. Drug distributors and manufacturers named in these and other lawsuits have said they don’t believe litigation is the answer but have pledged to help solve the crisis.

Polster likened the epidemic to the 1918 flu which killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, while pointing out a key difference.

“This is 100 percent man-made,” Polster said. “I’m pretty ashamed that this has occurred while I’ve been around.”

Associated Press Writer Geoff Mulvihill in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and AP Medical Writer Carla Johnson in Chicago contributed to this report.

As all these cities, counties, states and others are filing suits against various pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacy wholesalers… there are at least three different entities who has/have the information all along as to all of these opiates being sent to various pharmacies, written by doctors and/or pts that had prescriptions filled.

They would include the state board of pharmacy that manage the prescription monitoring programs where the data on every controlled substance prescription that is filled by a pharmacy is sent to…  that data would include the pt’s name, address, dob, medication strength/quantity and prescriber who wrote the prescription. All states – except Missouri – has one of these databases.

The DEA would/could have those same reports and/or reports from the wholesalers on purchases from pharmacies of controlled substances… including medication, strength/quantity.

The various PBM’s (prescription benefit managers). including those who are on Medicaid… that handle the processing/payment of some 80%-90% of all prescriptions handled by pharmacies and would have all the same data as the above two entities.

But none of these entities are being called into question for not stepping forward with the “so-called” damning information…  Anybody else wonder why ?



4 Responses

  1. Yes I do wonder why . On that question I’d like to hear your opinion. Also why can’t the pain patients sue? Don’t we have the most reason to if we go with the lumping together legal and illegal drug death stats? I don’t understand why Ohio, etc are legally suing over this? I know for money, but how? What makes sense about any of this? Rich men trying to get richer at whatever cost?

  2. They need to say, the “illegal drug epidemic” — not the opioid epidemic!! It is the illegal drugs that are the main problem, not the LEGAL prescription opioids. The 100 million chronic pain patients in this country need to be heard and taken care of. NOBODY should be expected to live in chronic unremitting pain.

  3. Well said Mary, BUT what makes me so damn angry is this ” Most of the deaths involved prescription opioids such as OxyContin or Vicodin or related illicit drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. ARG!

  4. I agree it is 100 %% manmade,,by ,”false addiction specialist,” like kolodyn and Shatter Proof, some very rich executives,,Every number ,every piece of data used was made up,,, to portray this false opiate epdemic,,,Tell a lie big enough,,long enough and people will eventually believe it,,and they have!! A tactic right out of Adolf Hitler…I agree we have to start trying to get the deaths down,,,but until the truth is allowed,,,not censored by the corrupted business leaders,, corrupted insurance company ceo’s etc,,the death will just keep rizen,,,because the data is not pure,,,not truthful,,nor are the reason their happening.For example,,,us cpp’s know why 2016 was a record year for deaths,,,,its called the cdc guidelines,,,We warned them,,,telling them everything will go up,,,not down,,,they didn’t lessen,,censored some of us and ignored the truth,,again and again…
    Until actual CPPs are allowed to utilize all the knowledge learned by forced endurement of physical pain and we are allowed in these ,”committee meetings,” government meetings,,,until Chronic physical pain people are allowed in these meetings by our government,,,not censorred,,,,the truth will never be told,,,about the use of opiate medicines,,and until the truth is allowed,welcomed,honored and acknowledge,,,,,more are going to die..maryw

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: