Search Results for ‘painkiller’

Chicago enlists in war on painkillers

“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.

Mayor Bloomberg vs. painkillers

“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]

“Admitted Drug Dealer Sues Doctor Who Prescribed Painkillers”

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]

Teenager accused of possessing painkillers…

…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;, Oct. 28)(via Nobody’s Business, Oct. 28).

Medical roundup

  • Study: doctors who use more resources are less likely to face malpractice claims [British Medical Journal]
  • “Obesity is not in fact a public health problem. It may be a widespread health problem, but you can’t catch obesity from doorknobs or molecules in the air. [David Boaz, Cato]
  • Contingency-fee law enforcement creates bad incentives, part MCXXXVI, health outlay recoupment division [W$J on Medicare auditors]
  • Welcome to Canada, skilled one, unless your spouse is ill. What that says about the welfare state [Bryan Caplan]
  • “Jury awards $16.7 million in swine flu death of pregnant Puyallup mother” [Tacoma News-Tribune]
  • Doc convicted of murder after patient overdoses: “Some experts worried that a conviction would have a chilling effect on worried doctors and keep powerful painkillers from patients who need them.” [L.A. Times via Jacob Sullum]

Pharmaceutical roundup

  • War on painkillers finds new casualty in ailing veterans [Washington Post, Brian Doherty]
  • “Woman says ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ lube doesn’t deliver, should be registered with FDA” [Legal NewsLine]
  • “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Twisted Anti-Vaxx History” [Russell Saunders, Daily Beast back in July]
  • Using antitrust law, New York seeks to force maker to go on producing older formulation of drug [Ilya Shapiro on Cato brief in Second Circuit] Courts have mostly rejected claims of a duty to supply grounded in obligation to patients [James Beck, Drug & Device Law]
  • “Patients see [biotech] startups and hope for a cure. Too many lawyers see them and hope for a payday.” [Standish M. Fleming, WSJ]
  • Argument that policymakers undervalue pharmaceutical aids to heroin rehabilitation [Jason Cherkis]
  • After suing the obvious defendants in New England Compounding Pharmacy contamination case, lawyers started in on the less obvious [Drug and Device Law, background on regulation-spurred rise of compounding pharmacies]

New York Times on the AG-trial lawyer alliance

The close working relationship between some state attorneys general and private trial lawyers — in which the AGs hire the lawyers to represent their states for a percentage fee of the haul — is not a new topic to us here at Overlawyered, but it’s nice to see it getting aired at length in the Dec. 18 New York Times piece by reporter Eric Lipton. The title gives a good introduction: “Lawyers Create Big Paydays by Coaxing Attorneys General to Sue” and in fact the private lawyers who commonly pitch the suits are themselves sometimes former state attorneys general, such as Michael Moore of Mississippi (of longstanding fame here), Patricia Madrid of New Mexico, Patrick Lynch of Rhode Island, Drew Edmondson of Oklahoma, and Peg Lautenschlager of Wisconsin. A few excerpts:

  • Law firm donations to AGs or “party-backed organizations that they run” “often come in large chunks just before or after” inking contracts to represent the state. A sidebar chart, “Political Gifts from Plaintiffs Lawyers,” confirms that most of the money flows to partisan attorney general associations ($3.8 million to Democrats and $1.6 million to Republicans over a decade) or state parties ($1.5 vs. $445,000) as opposed to candidates directly ($2 million vs. $240,000, not counting AGs running for governor).
  • When various AGs signed a brief to the Supreme Court supporting the plaintiff’s side in a securities litigation case, it was after being sedulously cultivated to do so by the lawyers.
  • “…at least three former attorneys general are pitching painkiller abuse cases to states nationwide, although no state has yet publicly signed up.” More on the Chicago and California-county painkiller cases here.
  • Yes: “‘Farming out the police powers of the state to a private firm with a profit incentive is a very, very bad thing,’ said Attorney General John Suthers of Colorado, a Republican and a former United States attorney.”

Full article, again, here. Michael Greve has further commentary on why it’s often AGs from small states who take the lead and whether business really started it all.

Medical roundup

  • 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] More: Rob Green, Abnormal Use.
  • “So In The End, The VA Was Rewarded, Not Punished” [Coyote]