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The current opioid epidemic has been branded as “the worst drug crisis in America’s history” and a “man-made plague.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), the current public health crisis has claimed more than 351,000 lives to opioid overdoses since 1999 with no end in sight. Its origins are a convoluted mixture of history, medicine, public policy, and regulation.

The current opioid crisis also has generated an enormous amount of federal, state, and local litigation, much of which is ongoing. However, it is clear, even though the litigation is far from over, that the aftermath of the opioid cases will transform the pharmaceutical industry in much the same way that the big tobacco cases did.

With the amount of information that is publicly available (e.g., media coverage, case evidence, pleadings, settlements, and verdicts), the opioid crisis and its attendant litigation present students with a unique opportunity to explore the intersection between public health, regulations, compliance, and the law.


Professor:  Dr. Seth B. Whitelaw, Senior Fellow & Adjunct Professor, Life Sciences Compliance

Grading: Letter
Credits: 2
Offered: Irregularly

Subject AreasHealth Law