On December 5, 2017, a formal nod came in for the formation of Opioid MDL: 2804 by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. To promote just and efficient conduct of the litigation and for the convenience of the parties and witnesses, the panel announced centralization in the Northern District of Ohio. Plaintiffs include cities, counties, and states alleging that the manufacturers of prescription opioid medications overstated the benefits and downplayed the risks of the use of their opioids and aggressively marketed (directly and through key opinion leaders) these drugs to physicians; and the distributors failed to monitor, detect, investigate, refuse, and report suspicious orders of prescription opiates.
Judge Daniel Polster is appointed to oversee the litigation related to manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sales practices of prescription opioid drugs by drug makers and distributors.
More than a dozen states and about 100 counties and cities have already sued Purdue Pharma LLP and other opioid makers and drug distributors. Oxycontin maker Purdue is proposing a global settlement in an attempt to end state investigations and lawsuits.
With the recent MDL formation, it has been reported that the FDA issued the lowest number of warning letters to pharmaceutical companies caught lying about their products while on the other side the US Department of Justice launched a massive crackdown on opiate drug makers.
Apart from the lawsuits filed in the Opioid MDL, separate investigative subpoenas including demand letters and other requests have been served to eight companies by Texas and coalition of 40 other states. The manufacturers and distributors named are Endo Pharmaceuticals, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals' Cephalon, Allergan and their related entities, Purdue Pharma, etc.