Ohio federal judge Dan Aaron Polster has scheduled a trial against CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and other major pharmacy chains in October 2020 for their role in the opioid crisis.
So far, pharmacy chains have remained unscathed by the National Prescription Opiate Litigation, a collection of lawsuits filed by counties, cities, Native American tribes, and others. Following the first federal opioid trial in October 2019, several drug manufacturers and distributers were court-ordered to pay millions in settlements. Walgreens, the only pharmacy chain involved in the trial, did not participate.
Judge Polster, who presides over the lawsuits, has been pushing for one mass settlement for nearly two years. However, competing interests among the defendants has made that an unrealistic goal. “What the court has learned is that if it proceeds with the bellwether trial process as it has so far, it will simply take too long to reach each category of plaintiff and defendant, much less each individual plaintiff and defendant. Meanwhile, the opioid crisis shows no sign of ending,” Judge Polster wrote.