Top drug manufacturers have won a round in a California lawsuit that blamed them for the opioid crisis and sought billions of dollars to cover the costs of dealing with it. Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson issued a tentative ruling on Monday that said the governments hadn’t proven the pharmaceutical companies used deceptive marketing to increase unnecessary opioid prescriptions and create a public nuisance.
“There is simply no evidence to show that the rise in prescriptions was not the result of the medically appropriate provision of pain medications to patients in need,” Wilson wrote in a ruling of more than 40 pages.
“Any adverse downstream consequences flowing from medically appropriate prescriptions cannot constitute an actionable public nuisance,” the ruling said. Los Angeles, Orange and Santa Clara counties and the city of Oakland argued that the pharmaceutical companies misled both doctors and patients by downplaying the risks of addictions, overdoses, deaths and other health complications while overstating the benefits for long-term health conditions.