September 14, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Academics file amicus brief in national opioid case calling for release of discovery documents

The American Medicine and Public Health Historians and the Organization of American Historians together with 35 medical historians and related academics has filed an amicus brief in the National Prescription Opiate Litigation in federal court in Ohio calling on the court to require public disclosure of the discovey documents prroduced in the case.  They argue that making the tobacco litigation documents publich has served the public interest and that the same thing should be done in the opioid litigation.

They also argue that the documents should be provided to the UCSF Industry Documents Library (which already includes some opioid documents as part of the Pharma collection) and that the defendants should pay the costs of making these documents available, as happened in the tobacco litigation.   Adding the opioid documents to the Industry Documents Library will also mean that they can be cross-searched with the other collections (tobacco, pharma, food, chemicals, fossil fuels) that will make it easier to identify common players (scientists, PR firms, law firms, political actors) that are working across industries.  We and others have already found that in several other areas.

This is the same idea that I recently proposed in an oped in the Washington Post, but the amicus brief has a lot more heft and develops the argument in much more detail.  (I also said that AGs and others pursuing global warming litigation should publicly commit to making the discovery documents public in those cases, too.)

I applaud this effort and urge other public interest minded authorities to support this effort.

StatNews did a good story on the filing, which is available here.

The actual brief is available here.

Let's hope the court listens.

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