In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation

Firm: Kirkland & Ellis

Issue Area: Pharma and Tobacco

Case summary

Kirkland defended Allergan Finance, an opioid manufacturer, in lawsuits alleging deceptive marketing and sale of opioids including OxyContin. The marketing and over-prescription of opioids has killed hundreds of thousands of people across the United States. In its briefing, Kirkland argued that the deceptive practices of its client were too attenuated for injured plaintiffs to recover: "The remoteness of Plaintiffs’ proposed causal chain is compounded by two factors—each of which independently breaks that chain: (1) prescribing physicians’ exercise of independent medical judgment as 'learned intermediaries' when prescribing pharmaceutical products; and (2) intervening third-party criminal acts that directly caused the claimed societal harms."

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