Judge: Drugmakers, others can face trial over opioids crisis

WNTZ - A federal judge overseeing litigation related to the nation’s opioid epidemic ruled Tuesday that lawsuits targeting Purdue Pharma and other drug companies can move to trial even as the OxyContin maker tries to reach a settlement.

The ruling was one of several issued by U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster, who is preparing for a trial scheduled for Oct. 21 over claims from the Ohio counties of Cuyahoga and Summit.

It would be the first federal trial seeking to hold drug companies, distributors and pharmacies accountable for an overdose and addiction crisis that has killed more than 400,000 Americans since 2000. More than 2,000 local governments have sued the industry, with most of the cases gathered in multidistrict litigation under Polster. The first trial is partly intended to answer legal questions that could arise in others that would follow if a settlement can’t be reached.