In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation

Firm: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Issue Area: Pharma and Tobacco

Case summary

Skadden defended Purdue Pharma in numerous lawsuits alleging deceptive marketing and sale of opioids including OxyContin. Purdue and other bad actors' marketing and over-prescription of opioids has killed hundreds of thousands of people across the United States. But Skadden's website boasts of "securing the dismissal of a high-profile law enforcement matter against the makers of OxyContin and other opioid pain medicines." In a brief filed by Purdue Pharma while under Skadden's representation, the company blamed the crisis on doctors and traffickers. "The State’s theory of liability also disregards both the myriad socioeconomic reasons for opioid abuse and the many intervening links separating each company’s marketing from the State’s expenditures on public services, including: extensive federal regulations; individual doctor prescribing decisions; misuse and abuse of opioid medications by people who were never prescribed them; and criminal conduct, including drug trafficking and diversion."