Chicago products liability partner Dave Sudzus and associate Russ Chibe authored an article for Pharma IQ, "What’s Next in the Fight Against the Opioid Crisis?” They address recent federal actions in the nation’s fight against the opioid epidemic, such as President Trump’s declaration of a “national health emergency” and a release of a report from the President’s blue ribbon commission.
Dave and Russ note that the commission’s report focused on prevention and treatment, and not on litigation against pharmaceutical manufacturers, which was consistent with President Trump’s earlier remarks on the subject. However, some of the funding proposed by the commission may become available for states and municipalities to use for this litigation. Additionally, the Department of Justice can unilaterally direct its funding toward litigation. Moreover, some of President Trump’s comments on the pharmaceutical industry, such as his reference to “people and companies that are hurting people,” may have significant influence on public opinion, future lawsuits and juror perception. Therefore, Dave and Russ recommend that pharmaceutical industry executives and counsel pay close attention to the government’s next steps in fighting the opioid epidemic.