News attorneys: Opioid distribution data should be public

Posted at 12:24 PM, May 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-02 12:24:56-04

CINCINNATI (AP) — Attorneys for news organizations have argued that the U.S. public should see federal data about how prescription opioids were distributed.

They urged a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Thursday to overturn a lower court judge's denial of access to the information. The judges will rule later.

The data is a key piece of evidence in hundreds of lawsuits filed by state and local governments against companies that make and distribute the drugs.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration database details the flow of prescription painkillers to pharmacies, showing the number and doses of pills.

A Justice Department attorney told the judges releasing the data would compromise investigations.

A Cleveland-based judge is overseeing more than 1,500 related lawsuits.