Published: August 19, 2021
WIT Legal, LLC

The Case:

The sales, distribution, and abuse of opiates, such as fentanyl, oxycodone, and morphine, and the astronomical costs to local, state, and federal agencies and taxpayers have spurred litigation against corporations and individuals.

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed by cities and counties under multidistrict litigation (MDL), collectively known as the National Prescription Opiate Litigation.

WIT was retained by several manufacturers, distributors, dispensers, and benefit managers to provide consulting and testifying experts to support the defendants in dozens of lawsuits across the United States.

The Ask:

WIT was approached by several law firms representing different defendants under the opiate MDL to consult on their expert witness needs. The matters required experts with significant industry experience, the highest academic credentials, and specialized expertise in drug development, the duties and standards of pharmacists, the rules and processes of investigations, the role of DEA, and more. Our clients requested former DEA agents, state diversion investigators, epidemiologists, economists, physicians, pharmacists, and FDA experts.

Why WIT was Best Suited to Meet the Expert Witness Needs:

In anticipation of a high demand for experts by defendants in opioid-related lawsuits, WIT recruited and retained world-class academic, industry, and regulatory experts that we knew would be of value to our clients. WIT experts consulted on allegations that opioid manufacturers and distributors deceived medical professionals through marketing efforts regarding the risk of long-term addiction to opioids for chronic pain and as a “gateway” to illicit drug use. They assessed the DEA’s role in investigating pharmacies on diversion and suspicious order monitoring as well as pharmacies’ and pharmacy distributors’ internal anti-diversion systems. Through statistical analyses, experts also rebutted claims of the causal connection between the prescription of medicinal opioids and the use of non-pharmaceutical (street) opioids.

WIT knew the most appropriate experts for the cases through its experience working with expert witnesses on a wide range of litigation.

WIT’s Affiliate Expert Team for the Opioid MDL included:

  • a former FDA officer who worked with the group that granted the initial drug approvals for many opioids,
  • former DEA Special Agents-In-Charge and Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge with experience running DEA offices in multiple cities in every region of the country,
  • a director for DEA compliance and regulatory/due diligence investigations who had managed supervision of compliance programs,
  • a former state law enforcement officer who had served on multi-jurisdictional anti-drug task forces,
  • a former Texas Board of Pharmacy investigator,
  • multiple clinical pharmacists and pharmacy professors with decades of combined experience teaching professional practice,
  • a pharmacy consultant and pain educator,
  • a retired drug enforcement administration supervisory special agent,
  • a biostatistician and epidemiologist, and
  • anti-diversion security experts.

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