Industryweek 33677 Opiods

Trump Says He Wants Federal Lawsuit Against Opioid Makers

Aug. 16, 2018
The President said he’d like to bring a federal lawsuit, rather than join existing state litigation currently against drugmakers such as Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson.

President Donald Trump said on August 16 that he wants the U.S. government to sue pharmaceutical companies that manufacture opioids as part of his efforts to halt an epidemic of drug addiction.

Trump said he’d like to bring a federal lawsuit, rather than just join existing litigation against the drugmakers.

“Some states have done it,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House. “But I’d like a lawsuit to be brought against these companies that are really sending opioids at a level -- it shouldn’t be happening. So highly addictive. People go into a hospital with a broken arm, they come out, they’re a drug addict.”

Drugmakers such as Purdue Pharma LP and Johnson & Johnson that sell opioid painkillers face hundreds of lawsuits filed by states, cities, counties, Native American tribes and labor unions as the epidemic of addiction continues to rage in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said preliminary estimates indicate that almost 72,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses last year, a figure that has been rising for years.

Trump didn’t offer more detail on a possible lawsuit.

Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote Aug. 3 to opioid manufacturers Purdue, Insys Therapeutics Inc. and Mallinckrodt Plc, asking about their role in the epidemic. Lawmakers have also focused on pharmaceutical distributors such as McKesson Corp. and Cardinal Health Inc.

Chinese Imports

Trump also asked the Justice Department to address the flow of synthetic opioids from China. The drugs have played an increasing role in overdose deaths in the U.S. as users turn from prescribed pills to often illicitly obtained compounds from overseas, manufactured from a variety of producers.

Trump asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to do “whatever you can do from a legal standpoint, whether it’s litigation, lawsuits, with people and companies.”

“In China you have some pretty big companies sending that garbage and killing our people,” Trump said. “It’s almost a form of warfare. And I’d like to do whatever you can do legally to stop it from China and from Mexico.”

Sessions said that the Justice Department had identified companies shipping some of the illegal drugs and was taking action.

“We’re returning indictments now against distributors from China,” Sessions told Trump, though added that some of the imports were still coming in through smuggling.

By Justin Sink and Anna Edney

Popular Sponsored Recommendations

How to Build Zero-Cost On-Site Solar and Storage Projects

Nov. 25, 2023
The Inflation Reduction Act offers tax credits, incentives, and financing that enable no-cost projects. In Enel’s eBook, discover the critical role that incentives play in your...

Legacy Phone Lines Are Draining Your Profits

Oct. 30, 2023
Copper wire phone line expenses that support emergency devices could be costing your company millions of dollars in wasteful overhead expenses. Rates have been skyrocketing while...

Process Mining For Dummies

Nov. 19, 2023
Here it is. Everything you need to know about process mining in a single book, written in the easy-to-understand, hard-to-forget style that ‘For Dummies’ manages so effortlessly...

Discrete and Process Manufacturing 2024 Trends and Outlook for North America

Oct. 29, 2023
Manufacturers are reaping the benefits of automation and cloud-based solutions. Discover what is driving today's industry trends and how they can shape your growth priorities ...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of IndustryWeek, create an account today!