Judge Puts Brakes on Two CA Counties’ Lawsuit of Narcotic Producing Pharma Companies
The Orange County Superior Court Judge put the case on indefinite hold on the grounds that it would duplicate efforts of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the single point of oversight on the matter.
Orange and Santa Clara County had been seeking for five of the world’s largest manufacturers of narcotics to pay for the damages caused by a prescription drug epidemic, think of pills like OxyContin.
Specifically, the suit went after the allegedly fraudulent marketing of addictive painkillers in a way that undermined the effects of the FDA warning labels. The companies involved argued that such claims were unfounded.
Orange County DA Tony Rackauckas wasn’t buying it, saying that courts have operated alongside federal regulators on matters of oversight before. The judge deferred to the FDA, but left a window of opportunity open for Rackauckas to revive the case once the FDA completes its own review of the matter.
An L.A. Times report from 2012 found that of all the RX drug deaths over the span of 2006 to 2011, nearly half of them involved drugs that had been prescribed by a doctor. This likely led to the idea that certain potentially dangerous drugs are being misrepresented in their marketing.
The case mirrors two other suits filed in recent years against big pharma, one in Chicago, the other in Kentucky.
Further reading on the court case can be found here.