Purdue Pharma Reaches $116M Settlement With British Columbia
British Columbia, Canada, has reached a settlement with OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma Canada for $150 million in medical expenses associated with the opioid crisis.
Purdue is one of the more than 40 medication manufacturers and distributors identified as defendants in a proposed class-action lawsuit brought by British Columbia on behalf of all provincial and federal governments of Canada in 2018. Health care expenses related to misconduct by opioid producers, distributors, and their consultants are the focus of the complaint.
The proposed settlement with Purdue Canada, which totals $150 million in financial rewards and other advantages, including access to information and records relevant to the claim, has been discussed with the federal, provincial, and territory governments.
It represents the biggest public health litigation settlement in Canadian history. According to the Purdue Pharma Canada spokesperson, the organization has agreed to pay the fine and provide the prosecution access to the documents it has asked in exchange for being freed from any future and prior claims and obligations from the government over opioid use.
In Canada, there were 29,052 apparent opioid-related fatalities between January 2016 and December 2021, with 7,560 of these deaths occurring in 2021, according to official statistics. The number of these deaths surged by 96% in the first year of the COVID-19 epidemic.
No amount of money can bring back the deceased, according to the Attorney General of British Columbia, but we are dedicated to holding businesses and other individuals responsible for any misconduct in the production and distribution of opioids.
Purdue Pharma Canada or any of its affiliated parties have not admitted any wrongdoing or culpability as part of the settlement, the company stated in a statement sent by email.
Oklahama To Get $250M From Opioid Settlements
The state Attorney General of Oklahoma announced that the state has reached a $250 million settlement with the three drug companies to deal with the opioid addiction crisis.
The companies involved in the settlement are McKesson, Cardinal and AmerisourceBergen. All these companies face numerous lawsuits against them with allegations that they fueled the opioid crisis in the state and across the nation.
The AG said that the crisis has led to opioid addictions and overdoses, affecting the families across Oklahoma. No money is sufficient to bring back the lives lost due to the opioids, but these funds would treat current opioid addicts and prevent future opioid crisis.
According to a statement released by AmerisourceBergen, the settlement would speed up the distribution of resources to areas afflicted by opioid addiction and save years of drawn-out litigation. The years of court proceedings leading up to this point have repeatedly demonstrated that pharmaceutical distributors must walk a legal and ethical tightrope between giving access to essential pharmaceuticals and intervening to prevent restricted substance diversion. AmerisourceBergen will keep pushing for further regulatory guidance and clarification on the distributors' responsibilities in preventing the diversion of authorised controlled drugs, as we have for years.
Representatives of other drugs did not comment on the scenario. If the agreement is approved, it would put an end to accusations made against AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., and McKesson Corp. by the state Attorney General's Office, which sought to hold them accountable for their alleged involvement in sparking and sustaining the national opioid crisis.
The state has already collected more than $680 million from opioid manufacturers, including $270 million from Purdue, the manufacturer of OxyContin, and $85 million from Israeli-owned Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, after previously rejecting a nationwide deal with the corporations.
Supreme Court Rejects Bayer's Second Roundup Lawsuit Appeal
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take into account an appeal resulting from the second of two early trial verdicts, rejecting Bayer's request for a decision that would put an end to all future Roundup lawsuits.
Bayer appealed against the $87 million verdict awarded to a couple who claimed to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma due to the exposure to Roundup weedkiller. Earlier in May 2019, a California state court jury originally awarded the couple more than $2 billion as a settlement, but the amount was later reduced. Bayer's writ of certiorari in the lawsuit has been now denied by the supreme court.
This week's decision not to even examine the appeal comes shortly after the Supreme Court dismissed a case involving a plaintiff's appeal involving a Roundup product that resulted in a $25 million judgement in federal court in March 2019.
Because the EPA had previously approved the weed killer and the warning label provided to consumers, Bayer has based a significant portion of its legal defence strategy in the remaining cases on the hope that it can persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that the claims are pre-empted by federal law.
It was unusual for the Court to remark on the grounds for rejecting the petitions. Officials from Bayer have allegedly stated that they disagree with the decision and that there may be further possibilities in the future to appeal Roundup decisions to the Supreme Court, in the hopes that these decisions will put an end to the protracted legal battle.
However, Bayer will be under more pressure to reach agreements to settle the remaining Roundup cancer claims after failing to persuade the court to even examine appeals resulting from the initial trials.
Nearly 100,000 non-Hodgkin lymphoma lawsuits were filed against Bayer and its Monsanto subsidiary at one time, alleging that for years, information and warnings concerning the cancer risk connected with the weed killer were hidden from customers and authorities. However, Bayer agreed to pay billions in Roundup settlements as a result of the decision in the aforementioned case and other claims of a similar nature that proceeded to trial in 2018 and 2019. Nevertheless, it has persisted in pursuing appeals against a number of early judgments, and thousands more claims are still advancing through the legal system as plaintiffs turned down settlement offers.
Bayer declared last year that it intends to eliminate the active chemical glyphosate from Roundup weed killers supplied to residential customers in the United States by 2023 in order to reduce its potential responsibility for Roundup. Although a different active component would be used in the products, one that has not been connected to a risk of non-lymphoma Hodgkin's, which would still carry the Roundup label and continue to be sold. However, according to Bayer representatives, glyphosate will still be utilised in goods marketed to farmers and agricultural enterprises as well as goods sold abroad.
Court Grants Temporary Stay On JUUL's Vape Products Ban
Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) order to ban the sale of JUUL's e-cigarettes has been temporarily blocked by a federal court as the manufacturer has asked for additional time to file an appeal of the recent regulatory decision.
Earlier, FDA rejected the authorization of JUUL vaping products and asked the manufacturer to discontinue the sale and recall the products from the U.S. market, citing the long-term effects of teen vaping addiction.
JUUL introduced vape pens in a variety of flavors in 2015 with a design similar to a USB drive. This allowed the teens to hide their products and vaping habits from parents and school officials. Eventually, the e-cigarettes became popular among the teens, which increased the addiction problems throughout the nation.
The manufacturer's deceptive marketing through social media, and other mediums to lure the teens, additionally fueled the addiction crisis. These misleading strategies even led non-smokers to use vape pens. FDA issued a ban on the products to control the skyrocketing teen nicotine addiction rate.
JUUL denied the FDA's order and appealed the decision in the court. JUUL Lab’s Chief Regulatory Officer defended their products by stating that the products are compliant with the statutory standards that make the products appropriate for the protection of public health.
JUUL is even considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to deal with the ban as a majority of the revenue from the sale of the products for the manufacturer comes from the U.S.
First Zantac Bellwether Trial Slated On Feb 13, 2023
A pretrial order to establish the first Zantac trial has been issued by a Californian State Court Judge who is overseeing the Ranitidine Products Cases JCCP NO. 5150.
The judge has confirmed the first four Zantac bellwether trials, with the first taking place on February 13, 2023, in Oakland.
The lawsuits allege that drug makers Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) failed to warn about the link between Zantac and cancer. Thousands of claimants have welcomed the news.
As per the pretrial order from the judge, a Sargon hearing will take place on January 25, 2023, where the legal teams of both sides will present their expert witnesses. The court will consider the expert opinions and decide if both sides have used valid methodologies in their scientific opinions. If the judge approves the methodologies, then the Zantac cases in the JCCP can proceed to trial and experts would be allowed to present evidence and testimony which would determine if Zantac causes cancer.
The first bellwether trial will begin on February 13, 2023, if plaintiffs’ experts pass muster in Sargon. Generally, the likelihood of the cases will end in settlement agreements if the plaintiffs win a jury verdict.
The second bellwether trial is scheduled on May 1, 2023, followed by a third trial scheduled on August 7, 2023. Bellwether trials will continue until the court appoints a mediator to negotiate resolutions or unless a global settlement has been reached.