PITTSBURGH (AP) – Attorneys for the District of Philadelphia and Allegheny County have lost a round in their legal challenge over the $26 billion national drug settlement, with a Pennsylvania appeals court ruling on Wednesday. Six that their case against the state attorney general is premature.
Prosecutors want the right to continue their own cases against the drug industry, saying the national settlement will pay their communities only a fraction of the amount needed to cover financial costs. main disease. They asked the court to rule that Attorney General Josh Shapiro did not have the authority to bind them to the settlement.
A judge from the Commonwealth Court ruled on Friday that because the national settlement has yet to be finalized, prosecutors’ challenge cannot be handled.
“Unless and until” the agreement is ratified and affects “the rights of the DA in a substantial and specific way, any opinion rendered by this court at this stage of the proceedings will be is an unacceptable advisory opinion,” Judge Michael Wojcik ruled.
Last year, drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and the three largest U.S. drug distributors announced a $26 billion settlement with state and local governments to settle thousands of local government lawsuits. and state. Most governments have signed on. The defendants have until February 25 to withdraw before the deal is finalized.
In Pennsylvania, Shapiro announced last week that by the January 26 deadline to sign, all 67 counties had decided to join the settlement. He said Pennsylvania is expected to receive about $1 billion.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who is pursuing his own, potentially more lucrative, lawsuit against the opioid industry, vowed to continue the legal battle.
“These attorneys general have essentially pledged that they will work with Big Opioids against the lawsuits to get more money,” Krasner said Friday. “That’s the baseline burnout in places like Allegheny County, Philadelphia County, where we have an astronomical number of people die from fatal overdoses each year.”
Shapiro, who has accused Krasner of misrepresenting the national balance, said it would begin funding treatment for communities ravaged by the outbreak.
“Wrong attempts to delay the help our communities need will fail. If someone tries to interfere with the decisions of each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties about participating in the settlement, including the decisions of the City of Philadelphia and Allegheny County, we will not hesitate to respond.” Shapiro said in a written statement.
A message was sent to DA Stephen Zappala Jr.’s office. of Allegheny County seeking comment.
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https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2022/02/04/allegheny-philadelphia-district-attorneys-opioid-settlement-suit/ Allegheny, Philadelphia DAs lose round in opioid settlement suit – CBS Pittsburgh