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Health & Science

Opioid Makers Meet With DeWine as Judge Presses for Meaningful Response to the Opioid Crisis

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M.L. SCHULTZE
/
WKSU

Ohio’s attorney general has met with two of the five opioid manufacturers the state is suing to try to come up with a settlement.  

Mike DeWine’s first meeting was with Johnson & Johnson and Teva pharmaceuticals Wednesday. He told Cleveland.com that it was to establish priorities such as prevention, education, treatment and the crisis in foster care the opioid epidemic has created.

Ohio’s is one of 200 lawsuits that have been filed by state and local governments against the companies that make and distribute opioids. Local communities, including Cuyahoga and Summit counties, have filed separate suits.

Many of the lawsuits have been consolidated in the Cleveland courtroom of federal Judge Dan Polster. This week, he told lawyers he wants to “do something meaningful to abate this crisis” and to do this year. He’s set a  Jan. 31 meeting for the 13 states.

Most of the cases claim the manufacturers engaged in a high-stakes marketing campaign that misled doctors and the broader medical community about the risks of their drugs and continued to distribute the drugs even when there was evidence they ending up on the black market.  

The companies have claimed they’re trying to help communities combat the crisis.