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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."
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