In an opinion issued on February 4, 2019, Superior Judge Mary M. Johnston gave a green signal to Delaware Attorney General to pursue claims against drug manufacturers who downplayed the addictive nature of opioids.
According to Judge Johnston's opinion, Attorney General Kathy Jennings’ office supported the state's allegations filed against the drugmakers such as Purdue Pharma L.P. and Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. However, claims for negligence and consumer fraud against CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. were tossed by the Superior Judge finding that the allegations were speculative.The ruling paves way for the next stage in the high-profile lawsuit, which was filed by former Attorney General Matt Denn in January 2018. In a 124-page complaint filed by Denn's office, the pharmacies, opioid manufacturers, and distributors were accused of using deceptive marketing tactics to push opioid sales and permit painkillers for unapproved uses. The lawsuit seeks to reimburse the costs incurred in health care, the criminal justice system, social services, welfare, and education systems.
According to a report issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last November, opioid caused the largest number of deaths last year nationwide. Opioid lawsuits are consolidated into a multidistrict litigation MDL No. 2804 (In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation) overlooked by Judge Polster in the Northern District of Ohio.