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Drug companies ask U.S. Appellate Court to reevaluate decision to allow the public to see opioid pill data

By Courtney Hessler, The Herald-Dispatch

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Drug firms are requesting the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals re-evaluate its previous ruling lifting a blanket ban on the release of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s pill data, citing a U.S. Supreme Court opinion released after its ruling.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster, who is overseeing about 1,800 lawsuits filed by local governments seeking damages from drug manufacturers and distributors for the opioid epidemic, released the data last month after the 6th Circuit said he abused his power in issuing a blanket protective order prohibiting the public release of the data, which records which companies made pills, where they sent them and which pharmacies sold them across the nation from 2006 to 2014.

The case had gone to the appeals court after Polster shot down news media attempts to retrieve the data made in court filings by HD Media, which owns the Charleston Gazette-Mail and Huntington’s Herald-Dispatch, and The Washington Post. The newspapers had argued that public interest in viewing the data outweighed the government’s and drug firms’ interest in secrecy. …

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