Opioid Trial to Begin Against Four Drugmakers in California in $50B Case

Orange County Court

Four drugmakers will go to trial over claims they fed the opioid epidemic, which has killed nearly 500,000 people since 1999, according to federal data.

The trial alleges that Johnson & Johnson, Teva Pharmaceutical Ltd., Allergan and Endo International PLC deceptively marketed their drugs and downplayed their addictive risks to boost sales.

“So many families have been affected, so many lives have ended or been completely devastated,” said Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams, whose county will be pursuing its claims at trial alongside those of Los Angeles and Orange counties and the city of Oakland. “Now the question is, how is there a measure of accountability for these manufacturers?”

The case is only the second to go to trial out of the thousands that accuse the drug industry of fueling the crisis however, along with trials expected to start in West Virginia federal court and New York state court, it could spur drugmakers and distributers to finalize settlements to end lawsuits nationwide. More than 3,000 states, local governments and Native American tribes have sued companies along the pharmaceutical supply chain.

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