Mike Moore is an unstoppable force. As Attorney General of Mississippi, he spearheaded the charge against Big Tobacco back in 1994. He almost single-handedly marshaled a multi-state onslaught that resulted in a $246 billion settlement. The addictive habit of smoking tobacco has been in major decline ever since. Mr. Moore is now a private attorney, bringing this same firebrand attitude to tackle Big Pharma and the opioid epidemic.
Mr. Moore started by meeting with Attorney General Mike DeWine from Ohio, the state hardest hit by the problem and generally recognized as ground zero for the introduction of fentanyl, a particularly lethal form of opioid. Since then, he has helped persuade Mississippi, Missouri and Oklahoma, plus a number of cities and counties, to come on board and join the litigation. Ten years ago, Mr. Moore was also involved, when an affiliate of Purdue Pharma and three of its executives pled guilty to criminal charges of misleading the public, resulting in a $634.5 million fine and settlement. It is hoped that the new litigation can help stem the tide of aggressive marketing by opioid manufacturers while putting money into state and local coffers to fund addiction treatment programs. Opioid medication is a $9 billion market in the US.
While opioids are FDA approved and often medically recommended to treat pain, they are also highly addictive. Rush Limbaugh, a national radio personality, and Kurt Angle, a famous professional wrestler, are two public examples of patients who inadvertently became addicts as a result of regular medical treatment. That’s why opioids are so scary. It’s not as if these patients sought out illicit drugs. They took prescribed medication under a doctor’s supervision. It really drives home the point that addiction can affect anyone.
How will this all work out? Mr. Moore says he isn’t pursuing opioid litigation “as a money grab.” He wants to keep the issue in the public eye to fight addiction and recover money for treatment. Based upon his unqualified prior success, it’s good to know that we have people like Mr. Moore on our side in the ongoing battle against addiction.