This first federal trial is supposed to determine the responsibilities in this crisis, which has made more than 400 000 overdose deaths since the late 1990s.
For now, Ohio-based federal judge Dan Polster has maintained his schedule. He is in charge of this sprawling file gathering more than 2300 complaints of local authorities of all kinds who hope to make pay the pharmaceutical industry for the colossal costs generated by this crisis.
The selection of jurors began Wednesday before the trial began Monday morning.
At the dock were expected from many pharmaceutical companies accused of having fueled the opiate crisis by aggressively promoting highly addictive drugs such as oxycodone, as well as wholesalers and networks of pharmacies accused of encouraging their overconsumption.
But several labs have recently reached amicable agreements with the two counties whose complaints are to be used as a test in this case, including the Purdue laboratory, manufacturing the famous opioid OxyContin, which has been under the protection of the law of bankruptcy, proposing to pay between 10 and 12 billion dollars to settle all complaints against him.
Exit the list of accused
The Israel-based Teva laboratory and three major drug wholesalers, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, responsible for distributing 90% of US drugs, are now the main remaining defendants.
These companies, as well as the Johnson & Johnson laboratory, which has reached an agreement with both counties, but remains subject to many other complaints, are now trying to reach an amicable settlement before Monday.
The outlines of an agreement would have been found with several states, cities and counties, indicated Wednesday the New York Times. These companies would be willing to pay some $ 50 billion to get off the list of accused, a bill they pay in cash and medical treatment, according to the newspaper.
A source close to the record confirmed that companies had made proposals corresponding to this amount, wholesalers offering $ 18 billion, Johnson & Johnson four billion, and Teva up to $ 29 billion, payable in generic drugs.
But according to this source, there is no agreement at this stage. None of the companies concerned has confirmed this information. If these agreements were to be confirmed, the trial would probably be postponed.