© 2024 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Opioid pharmacy trial verdict in Cleveland could impact similar cases nationwide

Photo of a gavel and scales of justice and book background. [Sebastian Duda/Shutterstock]
Photo of a gavel and scales of justice and book background. [Sebastian Duda/Shutterstock]

A case that was being watched closely ended in Cleveland last week with a federal jury finding
three national pharmacy chains liable for helping to drive the opioid addiction and overdose crisis in the United States.

Lawyers for Lake and Trumbull counties sued the three chains: CVS, Walgreens and Walmart under public nuisance law.  Under such laws, those deemed responsible are required to pay to help mitigate the damages.  Both counties have begun the process of totaling the costs the opioid crisis has cost their communities.  Damages are expected to run into the billions.

However, any damage settlement could be impacted by an appeal. All three pharmacy chains say they will appeal the jury’s decision.

The pharmacies face potentially thousands of similar cases in communities nationwide.

During the trial, the pharmacies pointed the finger of blame back at the doctors who prescribed the  medications and the regulators who approved them for use.

Two other name brand chains, Rite-Aid and Giant Eagle, settled with Lake and Trumbull counties before the case in Cleveland began.

Earlier this month, the United States passed a grim milestone in the opioid epidemic.   More than 100,000 people died of overdosel in a 12-month period between April 2020 and April 2021.

National Public Radio Addiction Correspondent Brian Mann covered the case in Cleveland.  He checked in with us to discuss the verdict and what comes next.

The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments next week—on December 8-- over the state's newly drawn legislative district maps.

That map establishes district boundaries for Ohio's state representative and state senate districts.

The Republican-drawn maps, approved by the Ohio Redistricting Commission, would award the lion's share of seats to Republicans—preserving a veto-proof majority.

Groups challenging the maps say they are illegally gerrymandered and violate reforms approved by voters that sought to make the redistricting process more fair and elections more competitive.

Ohio voters twice approved constitutional amendments in 2015 and 2018 to reform the redistricting process.

Both the legislative district and congressional maps were approved without bi-partisan support.  This means they will be in effect for four years rather than ten.

Ohio will lose one seat in Congress as a result of the 2020 Census.  The Ohio delegation will be reduced from 16 seats to 15.

Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Karen Kasler discusses the legal challenges.

Brian Mann, Addiction Correspondent, National Public Radio 
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV 

Leigh Barr is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and the "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."