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Drug companies in massive opioids lawsuit call for judge's removal over bias

In this image, a pile of prescription bottles are piled on the concrete.
Members of P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) and Truth Pharm protest on Sept. 12 outside Purdue Pharma headquarters. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Drug companies in a massive legal battle over their alleged roles in fueling the opioid epidemic are calling for the federal judge in their case to be removed over the appearance of bias, the Washington Post reports.

Where it stands: These drug companies, which face thousands of lawsuits from cities and other communities, are scheduled for trial Oct. 21. The drug companies are "questioning" U.S. District Judge Dan Polster's "impartiality because he has consistently urged both sides to settle the case," per the Post.

What they're saying: The drug companies — defendants in the massive opioids trial — decry Polster and the court for "judicial and extra-judicial statements evidencing a personal objective to do something meaningful to abate the opioid crisis, with the funding to be provided through Defendants' settlements."

  • "This is simply a desperate move on the eve of trial by opioid companies that created, fueled and sustained the crisis following rulings by the court concluding that there is sufficient evidence to find that these companies created a public nuisance and conspired together to avoid regulation and sanctions," the federal opioid litigation co-lead plaintiff attorneys said in a statement on Saturday.

Read the drug companies' filing:

Go deeper: Purdue Pharma reportedly offers $10 billion to settle opioids lawsuit