Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman set May 28, 2019, as the date for initiating the trial for the opioid litigation against the Opioid Big Pharma industry and its affiliates in Oklahoma.
The lawsuits filed in June 2017 by various states blamed opioid manufacturers Purdue Pharma, Allergan, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals and several others for false marketing tactics which led to the opioid epidemic. Other than Oklahoma, several states like Ohio, Alaska, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Washington have filed lawsuits previously. The distributors played an integral role in opioid overdose deaths by not keeping track of oversupply, and failure to identify suspicious orders and report them to authorities. Attorney General Mike Hunter assured that Judge Balkman's move will help resolve the plight of many opioid victims throughout the nation.
Opioid overdoses corresponded to 66% of all drug overdose deaths in 2016. More than 400 opioid-related lawsuits are centralized as a part of multidistrict litigation, MDL No 2804 (In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation) in the Northern District of Ohio before U.S. District Judge Dan A. Polster. Recently, attorneys undertaking opioid litigation for babies born with birth defects due to opioid use by their mothers, requested a separate legal track within the MDL to address their medical expense concerns before Judge Polster.