Trial Date Set for Oklahoma v. Opioid Manufacturers

As the opioid epidemic continues, several states are filing lawsuits against drug manufacturers; Oklahoma is the first state to actually move forward.

Opioid Increases in Oklahoma / Image: Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Opioid Increases in Oklahoma / Image: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

In the last three years, nearly 3,000 Oklahomans have died as the result of opioid overdosing. Back in June, the state decided to take several drug companies to court stating that they misrepresented the addictive qualities of their drugs.

“One way to expand the market beyond a niche for cancer patients, the terminally ill, and acute short-term pain and persuade medical professors to prescribe more opioids to a broader range of patients with chronic, non-cancer related pain,” the lawsuit states. “To convince medical professors to prescribe more opioids to a broader range of patients, Defendants elected to falsely downplay the risk of opioid addiction and overstate the efficacy of opioids for more wide-ranging conditions.”

The state sought a trial beginning in May of 2019, which the judge granted, but the pharmaceutical companies’ lawyers claim that isn’t enough time for them to prepare. Attorney General Mike Hunter is hoping for an outcome similar to the tobacco settlement, where money is placed in a trust that’s allocated to treatment programs and rehabilitation.

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