Posts Tagged ‘opioids’

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]

Medical roundup

  • Wrong on many other issues, the American Medical Association is right to resist an artificial 3-day limit on opiate prescriptions [Jeffrey Singer, Cato; Jacob Sullum]
  • “Does Ride-Sharing Substitute for Ambulances?” [Leon S. Moskatel and David J. G. Slusky, Cato Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 114]
  • Fourth Circuit tosses Maryland law banning “price gouging” of “essential” generic drugs, finding that state violates Dormant Commerce Clause by presuming to control transactions entirely outside its boundaries [Zack Buck, Bill of Health; Stephen McConnell, Drug and Device Law]
  • President Trump signs “right to try” legislation expanding right of terminally ill patients to enter unapproved therapies; squaring this with existing FDA regulation may present knotty problems [Michael Cannon, Cato; Michael Maharrey (“In fact, victories in 40 state legislatures preceded Trump’s signing ceremony”); earlier here, here, and at Cato Unbound last year] More cautions from Jim Beck on liability angle [Drug and Device Law]
  • Florida, departing from other states’ practice, caps its outside lawyers’ recovery at $50 million: “Latest Wave Of State Opioid Lawsuits Shows Diverging Strategies And Lawyer Pay Scales” [Daniel Fisher, Forbes]
  • In medical innovation, “equality is a mediocre goal. Aim for progress.” [Tyler Cowen]

On filling dicey prescriptions, sued if you do…

“Back in 2015, two cases were decided within days of each other that allowed claims to go forward suggesting that a pharmacy could be potentially liable for both filling suspect prescriptions (see here) and for not filling suspect prescriptions (see here). Hence ‘damned if you do (question a prescription) and damned if you don’t.'” A key element on one side: pharmacies that refuse to fill prescriptions that they believe show red flags are apt to explain themselves to customers, and those explanations can expose them to defamation actions filed by the doctors who wrote the scripts. [Michelle Yeary, Drug and Device Law]

Opioids roundup

  • Prisoners die of drug overdoses at a high rate in their first week after release. That’s in part a prohibition-related problem [Jeffrey Miron, Cato]
  • “Drug testing kits can detect the presence of fentanyl and other contaminants — but in many places, including Illinois, they are classified as illegal drug paraphernalia.” [Steve Chapman]
  • “Hospitalized Patients Are Civilian Casualties in the Government’s War on Opioids” [Jeffrey A. Singer, Cato, more]
  • Texas: “Opioid lawyers pumped $110K into LaHood’s campaign after Bexar County DA hired them” [David Yates, Southeast Texas Record] “State senator working with Watts on home turf opioid lawsuit, lawyers billing Hidalgo County $3,800 an hour” [SE Texas Record]
  • “Cities Vs. States: A Looming Battle For Control Of High-Stakes Opioid Litigation” [Daniel Fisher on Tennessee AG’s intervention]
  • All 50 states have now adopted prescription drug monitoring programs, but do they work as intended? [Jeffrey Singer, Jacob Sullum]