Article: Facing $50B Trial, Drugmakers Minimize Roles In Opioid Sales

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Facing $50B Trial, Drugmakers Minimize Roles In Opioid Sales

Emily Field and Jeff Overley, 20 April 2021

Allergan PLC on Tuesday downplayed its Golden State opioid sales, echoing the strategies of fellow drugmaker defendants from the day before in a closely watched trial where major California counties are seeking $50 billion over the addiction epidemic.

Donna Welch of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, counsel for Allergan, said during the livestreamed bench trial that the company was responsible for one brand-name opioid, Kadian, from 2009 until it was taken off the market in 2020, and that its market share during that time was minuscule — less than a fraction of 1%.

In addition, Allergan stopped marketing the drug in 2012, and even before then, the marketing was conservative and had little if any impact on sales, Welch said.

“Indeed, prescribing decreased,” she told Orange County Judge Peter J. Wilson in her opening statement.

Tuesday was the second day of trial in one of the oldest suits launched by local governments in response to the opioid crisis. Other drugmaker defendants — including divisions of Johnson & Johnson, Endo Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceuticals — on Monday voiced arguments similar to those of Allergan, contending that their products often constituted small slivers of the overall opioid marketplace.

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