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painkiller

“Following in the footsteps of two California counties, the city of Chicago this week filed suit against five pharmaceutical companies, contending that they drove up the city’s costs by overstating the benefits of their addictive painkillers and failing to reveal the downside of taking the drugs.” [ABA Journal, Bloomberg] The city’s press release asserts, among other things: “there is no scientific evidence supporting the long-term use of these drugs [opioids] for non-cancer chronic pain.”

Suits like this are typically, though not invariably, concocted by private law firms which then pitch them to governments hoping for contingency-fee representation deals. (Orange and Santa Clara are the California counties that have signed on to such actions.) For more on the war on painkillers and their marketing, check the ample resources at Reason mag from Jacob Sullum, Brian Doherty, and others; note also a recent book, A Nation in Pain by Judy Foreman, via Tyler Cowen. Our earlier coverage is here.

“So we now have a politician directly dictating medical policy to doctors at city hospitals.” [Radley Balko]

P.S. In the mayor’s view, just as you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs, so you can’t fight painkiller abuse without overriding doctors’ judgment: “so you didn’t get enough painkillers and you did have to suffer a little bit…. there’s nothing perfect.” [Colin Campbell, Politicker]

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Pennsylvania: “A York man who pleaded guilty to illegally selling prescription drugs is suing the doctor who prescribed the painkillers to him for medical malpractice and medical negligence.” [York Daily Record]

And from the same state: veteran who broke into a pharmacy to steal drugs sues Veterans Administration for not having given him better mental health counseling. [Times-Leader]

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For your own good, of course — and so that they can make more arrests. [Radley Balko]

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…so prosecutors in Morris County, N.J. seized his family’s three cars. “Neither of the parents were aware of their teenage son’s prescription painkiller use, nor were any of the cars registered in his name. The family currently has no means to get to work or transportation. Gerald Trapp Sr. is a Bloomfield police officer.” The youngster, Gerald Trapp Jr., 19, accepted a diversion program for first-time offenders in lieu of trial but did not admit any wrongdoing. (Peggy Wright, “Prosecutor wants to keep 11 seized cars”, Oct 27; TheNewspaper.com, Oct. 28)(via Nobody’s Business, Oct. 28).

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Medical roundup

by Walter Olson on September 10, 2014

  • ObamaCare challenge: D.C. Circuit vacates Halbig decision for en banc rehearing [Roger Pilon, earlier]
  • ACLU and SEIU California affiliates oppose trial lawyers’ higher-damages-plus-drug-testing Proposition 46 [No On 46, earlier] As does Sacramento Bee in an editorial;
  • Rethinking the use of patient restraints in hospitals [Ravi Parikh, Atlantic; legal fears not mentioned, however]
  • Certificate of need regulation: “I didn’t know the state of Illinois had a standard for the maximum permissible size of a hospital room.” [John Cochrane]
  • In China, according to a study by Benjamin Liebman of Columbia Law School, hired malpractice mobs “consistently extract more money from hospitals than legal proceedings do” [Christopher Beam, The New Yorker]
  • Overview of (private-lawyer-driven) municipal suits on painkiller marketing [John Schwartz, New York Times, earlier] More: Chicago’s contingency deal with Cohen Milstein on opioid lawsuit [LNL]
  • “So In The End, The VA Was Rewarded, Not Punished” [Coyote]

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Mass tort roundup

by Walter Olson on July 16, 2014

  • New Hampshire lottery: after Granite State’s MTBE contamination suits pays off big, Vermont files its own [WLF Legal Pulse]
  • Supreme Court declines to review various cases arising from Florida’s Engle tobacco litigation [Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSBlog, earlier] “U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Fen-Phen Lawyers’ Appeal of $42M Kentucky Verdict” [Insurance Journal, earlier]
  • In action against five drug firms over opioid marketing, California’s Santa Clara County partners with law firms Robinson Calcagnie, Cohen Milstein, and Hagens Berman, marking at least the tenth time the county has teamed up with outside law firms to file suits [Legal NewsLine; earlier on Chicago's involvement in painkiller suit]
  • Lester Brickman on fraud in mesothelioma litigation [SSRN] “Plaintiff Lawyer Offers Inside Look At `Institutionalized Fraud’ At Asbestos Trusts” [Daniel Fisher]
  • “‘Light’ cigarette case vs Huck’s continues after 9 years; Two current judges had been plaintiff’s counsel” [Madison Record, ABA Journal]
  • “If honesty in the judicial system means anything, it means proceeding with candor before the tribunal, which plaintiffs’ counsel did not do during the removal proceedings.” [dissent in Peter Angelos Cashmere Bouquet asbestos case, Legal NewsLine]
  • Report on products liability and the driverless car [John Villasenor, Brookings, earlier]

Medical roundup

by Walter Olson on November 27, 2013

  • “In a nationally representative sample, higher patient satisfaction was associated with…increased mortality.” [White Coat/BirdStrike]
  • Low premiums! Few glitches! Larger states “working faithfully to implement the law with as few glitches as possible”! New Yorker’s Oct. 7 “Talk of the Town” on ACA’s smooth launch is a retrospective hoot;
  • Massachusetts Nurses Association goes all Venezuelan on hospital governance [Ira Stoll]
  • “Can a healthcare provider make an arbitration agreement with patients for resolving future malpractice disputes?” [Alex Stein]
  • “FDA Proposal To Curb Painkiller Overdose Deaths Would Add Burdens For Pain Patients” [Radley Balko]
  • Georgia DUI expert in hot water [PennLive] “Deconstructing the mechanical engineer” [Manhattan; Eric Turkewitz]
  • “FDA Suspension of Ponatinib: Serious Problem, Wrong Solution” [Richard Epstein, leukemia drug]
  • “Missouri Lawmakers Override Veto to Enact Good Samaritan Law” [Michael Cannon, Cato]

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Medical roundup

by Walter Olson on December 28, 2012

  • “Blaming doctors for prescription drug abuse” [White Coat] Judge rules victim of pharmacy robbery can proceed with suit against doctor who prescribed painkillers [NYLJ]
  • Louisiana Gov. Jindal’s proposal for letting contraceptives be sold over counter has good libertarian pedigree [David Henderson, Jonathan Adler] More: Ramesh Ponnuru.
  • FDA vs. antiemetics: “How Long Before Zofran Gets Black Boxed?” [White Coat]
  • ObamaCare vulnerable to an Origination Clause challenge? [Sandefur vs. Taranto, via Randy Barnett]
  • “When a child drinks cologne, by all means, sue the doctor… ” [NJLRA]
  • U.S. v. Caronia: does First Amendment protect promotion of off-label drug use? [Richard Epstein/Hoover, PoL, WSJ Law Blog, D&DL, Shackford]
  • Ideas from John Goodman on med-mal reform [Psychology Today]

“The parents of Derek Boogaard, the N.H.L. enforcer who died in May 2011 of an accidental overdose of prescription painkillers and alcohol, have sued the N.H.L. Players’ Association. … The suit seeks the $4.8 million in salary he was scheduled to make and $5 million in punitive damages.” [NY Times, Andrew Buzin]

“A lawsuit alleges a Mississippi casino served so much alcohol to a man taking powerful prescription painkillers that he died on the floor of his hotel bathroom.” Additional dimension of pathos: he was at the casino spending the proceeds of a lawsuit settlement. [AP/Jackson Clarion Ledger]

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Medical roundup

by Walter Olson on July 13, 2012

  • How’d we get shortages of hospital and community sterile injectables? Check out the role of FDA Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) regs, warning letters, and resulting plant closures [Tabarrok, with comments controversy; earlier here, here, here, etc.]
  • California orthopedist sues, wins damages against medical society that took action against him based on his testimony for plaintiff in liability case [American Medical News; earlier here, etc.]
  • Can’t have that: medical apology should be opposed because it “can create an emotional connection with an injured patient that makes the patient less likely to ask for compensation.” [Gabriel Teninbaum (Suffolk Law), Boston Globe]
  • Feds’ war on painkillers is bad news for legit patients and docs [Reuters, Mike Riggs/Reason]
  • New federal pilot project in Buffalo will provide concierge-style home care to emergency-department frequent fliers. Spot the unintended consequence [White Coat]
  • Dastardly drug companies? Deconstructing Glaxo SmithKline’s $3 billion settlement [Greg Conko, MPT] More: Beck, Drug and Device Law, on suits over “what are mostly medically valid and beneficial off-label uses”. Paging Ted Frank: “HIPAA’s Vioxx toll” thesis may depend on whether one accepts that the premised Vioxx toll has been established [Stewart Baker, Ted's recent post]
  • U.K.: “Lawyers seizing lion’s share of payouts in NHS negligence cases” [Telegraph]
  • Silver linings in SCOTUS ObamaCare ruling? [Jonathan Adler and Nathaniel Stewart] “DNC Scientists Disprove Existence of Roberts’ Taxon” [Iowahawk humor] Did Ginsburg hint at the court’s direction on the HHS contraception mandate? [Ed Morrissey, Hot Air]

[cross-posted at Cato at Liberty]

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March 15 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 15, 2012

  • Part III of Radley Balko series on painkiller access [HuffPo]
  • “Note: Add ‘Judge’s Nameplate’ to List of Things Not to Steal” [Lowering the Bar]
  • California’s business-hostile climate: if the ADA mills don’t get you, other suits might [CACALA]
  • Bottom story of the month: ABA president backs higher legal services budget [ABA Journal]
  • After string of courtroom defeats, Teva pays to settle Nevada propofol cases [Oliver, earlier]
  • Voting Rights Act has outstayed its constitutional welcome [Ilya Shapiro/Cato] More: Stuart Taylor, Jr./The Atlantic.
  • Huge bust of what NY authorities say was $279 million crash-fraud ring NY Post, NYLJ, Business Insider, Turkewitz (go after dishonest docs on both sides)]

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February 9 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 9, 2012

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April 27 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 27, 2011

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“A law that makes drug dealers liable for the injuries they cause does not apply to two pharmacies, a California appeals court has ruled, rejecting the case of a woman who got addicted to painkillers she acquired illegally from an employee of the pharmacies.” [Heller, OnPoint News]

A case before the Nevada Supreme Court aims to open up new vistas of liability. [WSJ Law Blog].

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An FDA panel’s recommendation to withdraw Vicodin, Percocet, and other opioid-plus-acetaminophen painkillers seems calculated to “sacrifice the interests of consumers who follow instructions for the sake of consumers who don’t”, says Jacob Sullum. ER blog Crass-Pollination has some thoughts as well.

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