Opioid trial

The nationwide opioid lawsuits are far from over.

After last month’s settlement with drug makers and distributors, lawyers for Cuyahoga and Summit counties are focusing on the next set of defendants: pharmacies.

At the start of this month, attorneys for the two counties asked the court permission to add new claims against pharmacies to their lawsuits. The claims accuse pharmacy chains of failing to look out for suspicious opioid prescriptions.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio’s attorney general said his office is disappointed in a reported settlement with five drug makers and distributors in advance of a huge opioid trial – a trial he tried to delay.

Drug manufacturers Teva and Johnson & Johnson and distributors McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Ohio-based Cardinal Health are reportedly offering $22 billion in cash along with $28 billion in drugs and services. AG Dave Yost said it’s not enough.

Drug companies may try to turn the tables on Cuyahoga County in the coming federal opioid trial, presenting evidence on the troubled the county jail and in the department of children and family services in an effort to minimize the role of their drugs in local problems.

With jury selection scheduled to begin next week and opening statements set for Oct. 21, attorneys for both sides are disputing which evidence and witnesses should be presented at trial.

Dave Yost
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

After taking heat for arguing the state should have a lead role in next month’s huge opioid trial in Cleveland, Ohio’s attorney general says he wants to be clear that he thinks any money won should be spent at the local level.

Dave Yost backed a bill that would have given his office control of more than a hundred lawsuits in that trial, saying individual cities and counties are litigating pieces of the state’s claims. But he stresses any verdict or settlement funds should go to foster care, law enforcement, prosecutors, first responders and treatment.