Jan 5, 2018

More lawsuits roll in against opioid makers, distributors

The opioid industry faces sweeping legal challenges. Photo: Education Images/UIG via Getty

Cities and counties in Alabama, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee have filed lawsuits over the past couple weeks against opioid manufacturers and drug distributors, accusing the companies of pushing doctors to prescribe addictive painkillers and failing to monitor where the drugs have been going, which has led to the country's staggering opioid crisis.

Why it matters: These lawsuits continue to pile up and have the potential to lead to large settlements — if judges accept the legal theories.

The latest examples: The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina, the largest Native American tribe east of the Mississippi River, said in a lawsuit this week the drug companies and wholesalers "created the foreseeable opioid crisis" and forced the tribe to spend tens of millions of their limited dollars on drug recovery and treatment.

Johnson County, Tennessee, which was featured in an October NBC News story about babies who are born addicted to opioids, said in its lawsuit that "in 2016 for every 100 Johnson County residents, there were 106.6 opioid prescriptions dispensed."

The companies being sued: Several of the largest opioid makers, including Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson, as well as the big three drug distributors, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 5,375,648 — Total deaths: 343,721 — Total recoveries — 2,149,412Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 1,639,872 — Total deaths: 97,599 — Total recoveries: 361,239 — Total tested: 13,784,786Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

White House announces new coronavirus travel restrictions on Brazil

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with Trump, March 19, 2019. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool via Getty Images

The White House announced that beginning at 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, President Trump would suspend entry of non-U.S. citizens who have been in Brazil in the past 14 days in an effort to stop the imported spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Brazil has reported nearly 350,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus — the second-most in the world behind the U.S. — and has emerged as a Southern Hemisphere hotspot as other heavily affected countries in Asia and Europe have managed to get their outbreaks under control.

Trumpworld's plan to brand Biden

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Mandel Ngan/AFP

Trump's advisers relish the contrast between his public appearances and Joe Biden's lack thereof. The former vice president, following the guidance of public experts, has eschewed public events and stayed home for months now. Trump, meanwhile, is out and about — masks be damned.

What we're hearing: Watch for plenty more mask-free outings from Trump, hyping the reopening of the economy and avoiding discussions of social distancing and death counts.