(Reuters) – Oklahoma’s prime court docket on Monday declined to delay a landmark trial set for Might in a multibillion-dollar lawsuit accusing OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and two different drugmakers of serving to gasoline an opioid abuse and overdose epidemic within the state.
The Oklahoma Supreme Courtroom’s choice was a win for the state’s lawyer basic, whose case is ready to be the primary to face trial of roughly 2,000 lawsuits nationally searching for to carry opioid producers liable for contributing to the epidemic.
Oklahoma Legal professional Common Mike Hunter’s 2017 lawsuit accuses Purdue, Johnson & Johnson & Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd of partaking in misleading advertising that downplayed the dangers of habit related to opioid ache medication whereas overstating their advantages.
The businesses deny wrongdoing. They’d sought to delay the Might 28 trial to Sept. 16, citing the necessity to overview information the state belatedly turned over that may very well be important to their protection. The state is searching for over $20 billion in damages.
The trial delay bid got here as Purdue, owned by members of the rich Sackler household, was exploring submitting for Chapter 11 chapter safety to deal with potential liabilities stemming from the lawsuits, folks conversant in the matter have informed Reuters.
Purdue didn’t reply to a request for touch upon Monday. After the trial decide declined on March eight to delay the trial, Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue denied that his ruling would have any have an effect on on whether or not it information for chapter.
“We admire the short motion taken by the court docket and for not rewarding the defendants with extra time for an issue of their very own making,” Hunter stated in a press release.
J&J and Teva didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
Opioids, together with prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl, have been concerned in a file 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017, in response to the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.
The epidemic has prompted lawsuits by state and native governments accusing Purdue and different drugmakers of contributing to the disaster.
Greater than 1,600 lawsuits have been consolidated earlier than a federal decide in Ohio, who has pushed for a settlement forward of the trial earlier than him in October. Different circumstances, together with Oklahoma’s, are pending in state courts.
Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Modifying by Invoice Berkrot