Posts Tagged ‘opioids’

Medical roundup

  • Sued if you do, sued if you don’t: drugmaker faces lawsuits over failure to provide Fosamax warning that FDA told it not to provide [Jim Copland, James Beck on Merck Sharp & Dohme v. Albrecht, pending at Supreme Court]
  • On new APA masculinity guidelines, Sally Satel cuts to the point: will they improve the success of therapy for people seeking help? [Washington Post]
  • What does it mean to say the opioid litigation might follow the tobacco model? [Rob McKenna, U.S. Chamber] Citing fate of earlier gun lawsuit filed by city of Bridgeport, state judge dismisses four lawsuits filed by Connecticut cities against opioid industry [Daniel Fisher, Legal NewsLine]
  • I do miss the days when leaders of the public health profession focused on communicable diseases like typhus rather than running after Bloomberg grants to promote soda bans [Joel Grover and Amy Corral, NBC Los Angeles]
  • Cooking the books on infant mortality: about those Cuban life expectancy stats [David R. Henderson]
  • As artificial intelligence begins to make inroads into medical diagnosis, liability issues loom large [Beck, see related linked earlier]

Canada: nurse who stole opioids wins reinstatement, damages

Over a period of two years at a nursing home in Waterloo, Ontario, a nurse identified in legal papers as DS “[stole] opioids for her own use and [falsified] medical records in order to conceal the thefts.” Now “a labor arbitrator has ordered the Regional Municipality of Waterloo to give DS her job back, and to compensate her financially for her unfair dismissal, including general damages for ‘injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.’ The care home had a duty to accommodate the nurse’s unquestioned diagnosis of severe opioid use disorder and mild to moderate sedative-hypnotic use disorder, ruled arbitrator Larry Steinberg. This disease had left her with ‘a complete inability or a diminished capacity’ to resist the urge to feed her addiction.” [National Post]

January 30 roundup

  • “Battle over stolen diamond-studded golden eagle takes flight as insurer fights order to pay up” [Jason Proctor, CBC]
  • Fentanyl test strips save lives. Feds oppose their distribution [Jeffrey Singer, Cato]
  • D.C. Circuit judicial nominee Neomi Rao (full disclosure: an old friend) “comes under fire for undergraduate writings on sexual assault — though her views from 25 years ago are consistent with today’s statutes and rulings.” [K.C. Johnson, City Journal]
  • One reason the costs of rent control policies get understated: it’s hard to control and account for declines in the quality of apartment services [Richard McKenzie and Dwight Lee, Cato Regulation magazine]
  • Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention video panel on antitrust law transparency with Deb Garza, Hon. Frank Easterbrook (“Always remember that sunlight is full of ultraviolet radiation”), Eric Grannon (incentive problems of “amnesty plus” program; “moral turpitude” provisions, more on which), moderated by Hon. John Nalbandian;
  • Big reason military and health care procurement is so pricey: “scads of less specific programs out there [are] insanely cheaper and more functional, but those programs cannot justify the costs of becoming compliant” [from Tyler Cowen comments]

Medical roundup

January 2 roundup

  • Extended look at problems of the adult guardianship program in New York [John Leland, New York Times, earlier]
  • “‘Professional Speech’: a Distinction without a Difference” after the NIFLA case [Cato podcast with Caleb Brown and Robert McNamara of Institute for Justice]
  • New York enacts law imposing stiff new tax on opioid makers and wholesalers while forbidding them to recoup it by raising prices for buyers in other states. That won’t fly under the Dormant Commerce Clause, rules federal judge [Nate Raymond, Reuters/Insurance Journal]
  • Should courts uphold laws grounded in part on hostility to a religious group, though rationalized on some other basis? Both right and left have trouble staying consistent [Ilya Somin]
  • “Oxford University Gets Opposition To Its Attempt To Trademark ‘Oxford’ For All The Things” [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
  • Australian corrections officials keep bringing the wrong Peter Brown to court as murder defendant [Lowering the Bar]

Medical roundup

  • No, the federal court ruling in Texas isn’t likely to take down the Affordable Care Act / ObamaCare [Ilya Shapiro]
  • Should doctors exhort their patients to vote? Hell, no [Wesley J. Smith]
  • “Accutane Litigation Goes Out with a Bang, Not a Whimper” [James Beck, Drug & Device Law] “The Worst Prescription Drug/Medical Device Decisions of 2018” [same; plus the best]
  • Proposal for price controls on Medicare Part B might amount to drug reimportation lite [Roger Pilon] Canadian reimportation as shiny object [Beck]
  • The European Medicines Agency has approved the powerful new opioid Dsuvia, and FDA head Gottlieb made the right choice in following suit, Sen. Markey and Public Citizen notwithstanding [Jeffrey Singer, Cato]
  • “Your doctors didn’t jump out of business; they were pushed. And they were pushed by people way too convinced of their qualifications to redesign the world around them.” [J.D. Tuccille, Reason]

Medical roundup

  • “Doctors as Data Entry Clerks for the Government Health Surveillance System” [Jeffrey Singer, Cato]
  • “Judge Orders Spine Surgeon to Pay Discovery Fees Over Funding Model” [Greg Land, Daily Report Online (Atlanta); defense lawyer says case “throws a harsh light on the interaction between personal injury lawyers, healthcare providers and litigation funders”]
  • What if feds’ enforcement policies on truthful off-label pharmaceutical promotion run aground on First Amendment considerations? [James Beck, Drug and Device Law]
  • Chronic pain patients: “Civilian Casualties Continue to Mount in Governments’ War on Opioids” [Jeffrey Singer] Feds’ tightening of opioid scheduling cut refills, but increased number of pills initially prescribed [same] So sinister for psychiatrist to take cash payment and keep night hours in a rented office, or is it? [Ira Stoll]
  • Certificate-of-need laws: “North Carolina Doctor Sues to Break Up State-Enforced Medical Cartels” [Christian Britschgi, Reason]
  • Law firm of Morgan & Morgan, awarded contingency contract for Kentucky opioid suit, holds fundraiser for Kentucky AG Andy Beshear [Legal NewsLine]

Liability roundup

“Texas Officials Were ‘In Over Their Heads’ When They Struck Deals With Opioid Lawyers”

“You don’t auction professional services,” said Terry O’Rourke, assistant county attorney for Harris County (Houston), Texas, in charge of the opioid litigation, regarding the hefty 35% fee plus expenses the county has contractually agreed to pay to its contingency-fee outside counsel. Meanwhile, Dallas County for its representation in the same litigation “sets the contingent fee at the lesser of 12.5% or a “base fee,” calculated as four times hourly rates ranging from $900 an hour for partners to $200 for paralegals.” Some of the lawyers hired by Harris County have been active political donors: “It’s not uncommon for elected officials to hire their political allies for contingency fee work.”

Harris County’s contract with three outside law firms also requires the county to pay a fee based on its total recovery before expenses, while many municipal clients have negotiated more favorable deals in which the contingency fee is a percentage of the recovery after expenses….

The fact that some counties agreed to pay all of the expenses associated with their cases while others will pay fees net of expenses also shows a lack of sophistication and the potential for gamesmanship, [Cardozo emeritus professor and legal ethicist Lester] Brickman said. Lawyers in asbestos cases and securities litigation have been accused of double-billing and allocating the same expenses to multiple cases, and it can be difficult for individual clients to uncover wrongdoing unless they obtain records showing the overall distribution of expenses and recoveries – something lawyers rarely provide….

“Few of the cities and counties have required that the expenses claimed by the lawyers be detailed, including providing receipts and other supporting documents,” Brickman said. “There’s a possibility that some lawyers will emulate `The Producers’ and charge aggregate expenses that are in excess of actual expenses,” as has happened with asbestos litigation.

[Daniel Fisher, Legal Newsline/Forbes]

Lawyers hunt massive opioid-suit payday

“A Bloomberg review of almost 100 [opioid-suit] agreements between the municipalities and their lawyers puts the stakes into focus: If the plaintiffs collect anything close to the maximum $50 billion that a global settlement may yield, according to a Bloomberg Intelligence estimate, a handful of attorneys could pocket at least one-quarter of that.” In all so far, “lawyers have brought more than 900 cases on behalf of states, local governments and tribes, as well as unions, medical practices and individuals.” [Andrew Harris, Jared Hopkins and Hannah Recht, Business Week/Bloomberg]