US appeals court says judge went too far on drug data order

Health News
Opioid Crisis Lawsuits_385156

FILE – This Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 file photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen, also known as Percocet, in New York. Cities and counties of all sizes have sued companies that make and distribute prescription opioids. Among the plaintiffs so far: Philadelphia; the state of Ohio; Princeton, West Virginia; the Cherokee […]

CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that a judge went too far in blocking the release of federal data about how prescription opioids were distributed.

A 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel on Thursday vacated an order by Cleveland-based U.S. District Judge Dan Polster to keep the information sealed. The panel wrote that Polster should follow proper legal standards in deciding what information could be withheld and why.

The judges heard arguments May 2 in Cincinnati from news media attorneys who said the information was important to understanding a national public health crisis. A U.S. government attorney countered that making the data public could compromise ongoing Drug Enforcement Administration investigations.

Polster is overseeing more than 1,500 lawsuits filed by municipalities against companies that make and distribute prescription painkillers.

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