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Former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore, who brought down Big Tobacco, is now targeting Big Pharma. Photo: Photo: Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Mike Moore, the lawyer who pierced Big Tobacco (and negotiated the largest corporate legal settlement in U.S. history) now has the opioid industry in his sights, Esmé E. Deprez and Paul M. Barrett write in the Bloomberg Businessweek cover story:

Moore is "convinced this is the moment to work the same mechanisms on the drug companies that forced the tobacco industry to heel"

  • The parallel: "Just as he did during the tobacco-litigation era, Moore has been traversing the country to recruit people ... Moore and his allies hope to corral at least 25 states to exert enough pressure, collect enough evidence, and drive potential damages so high that it will be cheaper for opioid manufacturers to back down."
  • "10 states and dozens of cities and counties have sued companies including Purdue Pharma, Endo, and Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceuticals —­ beginning in 2014 but mostly in the past few months."
  • "Forty state AGs have launched preliminary investigations as a way to gauge the viability of litigation."
  • Why it matters: "The suits allege that the companies triggered the opioid epidemic by minimizing the addiction and overdose risk of painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Duragesic. Opioids don't just cause problems when they're misused, the suits argue: They do so when used as directed, too."

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."