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(Reuters) — The U.S. judge overseeing nationwide litigation concerning the opioid crisis on Monday rejected Purdue Pharma LP's effort to dismiss claims that its activities caused a public nuisance.
U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland said a reasonable jury could conclude that Purdue's alleged fraudulent marketing of opioids, for the purpose of increasing sales, caused a nuisance.
Judge Polster's decision came six weeks before the scheduled Oct. 21 trial on the impact of opioids on two Ohio counties. The outcome could affect some 2,000 other opioid lawsuits by various municipalities and entities.
Separately, Judge Polster rejected efforts by drug distributors and pharmacies to exclude testimony from an economist who believes the counties, Cuyahoga and Summit, suffered between $194.4 million and $223.4 million of damages from 2006 to 2018.
Purdue is expected to file for bankruptcy after settlement talks stalled, the Associated Press reported on Saturday, citing state attorneys general involved in the talks. A bankruptcy filing would likely remove Purdue from the trial.
The prescribing of drugs meant to treat opioid use disorder increased 5.4% in 2018 among workers compensation claims and 1.8% of claims with high doses of opioids received naloxone — an anti-overdose medication — at almost double the amount from 2017, according to a drug trends report issued this month by Coventry Workers Comp.