Public nuisance laws in opioid cases give hope to both sides

A jury found that drugmakers brought about a public nuisance stemming from the opioid addiction crisis across the country.

By

National News

November 24, 2021 - 9:14 AM

CLEVELAND (AP) — A jury’s finding this week that three major pharmacy chains are responsible for contributing to the scourge of opioid addiction in two Ohio counties may be just the beginning of a protracted legal battle that ultimately could leave the communities no better off.

The reason is the central argument — that pharmacies created a “public nuisance” by dispensing an overwhelming quantity of prescription painkillers into each county. 

Thousands of state and local governments have sued drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies over a crisis that has contributed to more than 500,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. over the past two decades. The lawsuits generally center on claims the companies created public nuisances by interfering with the rights of the public through the way they marketed, shipped and sold the drugs — feeding the addictions of some patients and providing pills later diverted to the black market.

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