This post comes from the Cozen O’Connor side of the blog only.
City of Chicago v. Purdue Pharma L.P., 2015 U.S. Dist. Lexis 60587 (N.D. Ill. May 8, 2015), deals with an effort by the City of Chicago to recover payments it made to drug companies on opioid prescriptions for City employees (and retirees) covered by HMO, PPO and worker’s compensation plans. Id. at *9-11. Chicago claimed that it should get its money back because the drug companies misrepresented that the opioids were effective for more than short-term treatment of cancer pain. The City lost—at least for the time being.
The City claimed that the drug companies had mounted a coordinated campaign to use key opinion leaders to write, speak and create guidelines on long-term opioid therapy, use professional and patient advocacy groups as marketing tools, develop and support medical journal articles on long-term opioid therapy, misuse CME programs to market such long-term therapy, and more. In this campaign, according to the City, the drug companies overstated the effectiveness of opioids, downplayed the effectiveness of alternatives, and hid or understated risks such as addiction. Id. at *4-9. The City made common law fraud, conspiracy and unjust enrichment claims, and claims under certain Chicago municipal codes that, among other things, incorporated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Businesses Practices Act. E.g., Chicago Municipal Code § 2-25-90. Chicago asked for its money back and, as is often the case, hired private counsel to help them get it. Read here for our take a number of years ago on efforts by municipalities to recover these and other types of costs.