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

Go deeper

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 20,739,537 — Total deaths: 751,910— Total recoveries: 12,895,242Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,242,184 — Total deaths: 166,971 — Total recoveries: 1,755,225 — Total tests: 64,612,034Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.

Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Antibody drugs and various medicine cocktails against the coronavirus are progressing and may provide some relief before vaccines.

The big picture: Everyone wants to know how and when they can return to "normal" life, as vaccines are not expected to be ready for most Americans for at least a year. Two therapies are known to be helpful, and more could be announced by late September, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci tells Axios.

2 hours ago - World

Behind the scenes: How the Israel-UAE deal came together

Trump, Kushner and Netanyahu (L-R). Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty

The breakthrough in talks between the U.S., Israel and UAE on a normalization deal came two months ago, White House officials tell me.

Behind the scenes: Talks had been ongoing for more than a year, but they gained new urgency ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's July 1 deadline to move ahead on West Bank annexations.