Bloomberg Law
Sept. 3, 2019, 9:30 AM

Opioid Legal Fight Closer to Costly Asbestos Suits Than Tobacco

Valerie Bauman
Valerie Bauman

Opioid litigation against drugmakers and the drug supply chain is more akin to lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers than the challenges to Big Tobacco in the 1990s, suggesting far more difficulty for the drug industry to end the fight.

In 1998, tobacco manufacturers settled with state attorneys general for $246 billion over 25 years to end litigation about the industry’s marketing and promotion of cigarettes. Lawyers and analysts frequently liken the tobacco litigation of 20 years ago to the explosion of opioid suits now in courts against the drug industry for its role in the pain-killer addiction crisis.

But the asbestos ...

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