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