Oct 5, 2017

Lawyer who brought down tobacco industry goes after opioids

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

Coronavirus pushes traditional businesses into the digital age

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A slew of old-line industries that once hesitated to embrace digital technologies are now being forced to do so for the sake of survival.

Why it matters: Once consumers get used to accessing services digitally — from older restaurants finally embracing online ordering, or newspapers finally going all-digital — these industries may find it hard to go back to traditional operations.

America's grimmest month

Trump gives his Sunday press briefing in the Rose Garden. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump asked Americans to continue social distancing until April 30, officials warned that tens or even hundreds of thousands of Americans could die — and that's the least depressing scenario.

Why it matters: April is going to be very hard. But public health officials are in agreement that hunkering down — in our own homes — and weathering one of the darkest months in American history is the only way to prevent millions of American deaths.

Exclusive: Civil rights leaders oppose swift move off natural gas

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Top American civil-rights activists are opposing an abrupt move away from natural gas, putting them at odds with environmentalists and progressive Democrats who want to ban fracking.

Driving the news: In recent interviews, Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and National Urban League President Marc Morial said energy costs are hitting people of color unfairly hard. These concerns, expressed before the coronavirus pandemic, are poised to expand as paychecks shrink across America.